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Home minister rejects US influence on Ahmadiyah issue
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
The Indonesian government reserves the right to treat the Ahmadiyah religious sect however it likes, Home Minister Gamawan Fauzi says, following a recent call by US congressmen demanding the Indonesian government revoke all laws that discriminate against Ahmadiyah and religious minorities.
Gamawan was quoted by kompas.com as saying on Saturday that he was not sure whether the letter from the US congressmen even existed.
Speaking on the sidelines of a ceremony where he received an honor from Padang State University in West Sumatra, Gamawan admitted that he had not seen the letter sent by 27 congressmen to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono via the Indonesian embassy in Washington on Tuesday.
In the letter dated March 15, the congressmen expressed their “deep concern” over decrees issued by provincial authorities, including East and West Java governors banning Ahmadiyah from practicing its religion publicly.
“We also ask that you immediately revoke the decree that bans Ahmadiyah from conducting religious activities in the country and repeal the country’s long-standing blasphemy law, which is used to prosecute religious minorities who exercise their right to freedom of religion expression,” they said in a statement received by The Jakarta Post on Thursday.
The congressmen also referred to the brutal attack on Ahmadiyah members in Cikeusik, Pandeglang, Banten, last month that killed three Ahmadis in the presence of police officers.
They also said that the decree that banned Ahmadiyah had led to escalating violence against religious minorities.