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Ahmadis’ Holidays Plagued With Fear in Indonesia
Elisabeth Oktofani & Fitri | September 01, 2011
Not all Muslims celebrated Idul Fitri with jubilance and excitement. For members of the Ahmadiyah minority sect, this year’s celebration is marked by heartache and fear.
Firdaus Mubarik, a spokesman for the Indonesian Ahmadiyah Congregation (JAI), told the Jakarta Globe on Wednesday that approximately 600 Ahmadis in Sukadana village in West Java’s Cianjur district had been banned from using their mosque for prayers.
“Ahmadiyah followers in Sukadana village were told by the village chief that they could not use their own mosque to hold a Idul Fitri prayer in case of a possible attack by the residents,” Firdaus said.
“For us, this is a threat.”
Instead, Firdaus said the group had to hold its prayers inside an Ahmadiyah Islamic school as guards from Cianjur kept watch.
Similar threats were also aired against Ahmadis in Makassar, who were recently attacked by assailants from the hardline Islamic Defenders Front (FPI).
“Even though our mosque was damaged by the FPI on August 13, thank God we could hold Idul Fitri prayers in our own mosque peacefully this morning wthout any disturbance,” Irza Rasid, an Ahmadi from Makassar, told the Globe.
“Unfortunately, we could not stay longer to gather and celebrate Idul Fitri among the Ahmadiyah congregation because we did not want the FPI to come and attack us,” he added.
Last month, FPI members attacked the Makassar office of the JAI, where Ahmadis had planned to hand out food and groceries to the surrounding community.
“The FPI often conducts raids on Ahmadiyah activities without any coordination with the police. Not only did they carry out raids, but also threats and intimidation towards us.” Irza said. “It needs to be understood that we do not want to fight back … because we have our own motto, which is love for all, hatred for none.”
The JAI has recorded more than 160 cases of violence against Ahmadiyah communities in the last 10 years.
In Mataram, West Nusa Tenggara, Ahmadis have been living in a rundown shelter for nearly six years after their village was attacked and ransacked by mainstream Muslim groups.
“We have lost our land, we have lost our homes. Some have even lost their lives, but we are thankful for we have you, Allah,” Ahmadi children sang after the community performed their Idul Fitri prayer on Wednesday.
Many cried as some 50 children sang the song remembering the violence that drove them away from one village to the next, destroying every possession that they owned.
More than 250 Ahmadis took part in the prayer, occupying a tiny room in the middle of the abandoned Transito building. The ceiling showed signs of collapsing on to the congregation, which had to use makeshift prayer mats made from recycled newspapers and torn sheets of plastic.
Community members prepared a simple chicken stew and rice cake.
“I know they are nothing fancy, but they remind me of home,” 58 year-old Siti Kalsum said.