Jakarta – The Jemaat Ahmadiyah Indonesia (JAI) community says that acts of intolerance such as those which occurred at Balai Harapan Village in Tempunak sub-district, Sintang regency, West Kalimantan, are spreading to other areas.
JAI legal committee Chairperson Fitria Sumarni says that the group has received information about a letter opposing an Ahmadiyah congregation in Toho sub-district, Mempawah regency, West Kalimantan.
"Acts of intolerance against the Muslim Ahmadiyah community which exists in Balai Harapan are now spreading to other areas", said Sumarni during a virtual press conference on Friday January 28.
The opposition to the community was conveyed in a letter signed by the Toho Sub-District Leadership Communication Forum which is comprised of, among others, the sub-district head, the sectoral police chief (Kapolsek), the sub-district military commander (Danramil), the Indonesia Ulama Council (MUI) and the local Religious Affairs Office (KUA).
Sumarni revealed that they had hoped that cases of intolerance against the Ahmadiyah community in West Kalimantan had not spread because this would threaten the basic rights of Ahmadiyah followers.
"Of course we did not expect this would continue to spread to other regions", she said.
Sumarni also took the opportunity to reveal that the Ahmadiyah community in Sintang regency is facing several concerns because instead of issuing a permit for a place of worship, the Sintang regent has in fact been intimidating them.
Sumarni said that the Sintang regency government once asked the community to voluntarily dismantle the Miftahul Huda mosque which they themselves had built over a period of years and years. The Ahmadiyah community objected and then asked for an audience.
They asked that the mosque not be demolished. The Sintang government then offered them two choices, that the land and mosque be purchased by the government or that its function be converted into an ordinary residence.
"Currently the Ahmadiyah mosque community in Balai Harapan and Sintang regency are suffering double stress and worry over the regent and the Sintang regency government's moves which continue to intimidate [the community]", he said.
Sumarni said that the Sintang government eventually issued an order so that the Miftahul Huda mosque could be demolished and modified to become a meeting hall or residence.
Several Sintang government officials along with a truck full of Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) officials then arrived and began measuring the land and the building.
"Government officials along with a truck of Satpol PP arrived at the Miftahul Huda mosque then measured the land and the mosque building", said Sumarni.
Since 2004 the Ahmadiyah community in Sintang regency has been rejected by local people. This intensified in late 2021.
On August 14, the Sintang government sealed off the mosque. A month later a group calling themselves the Islamic Community Alliance (AUI) arrived and launched an attack on the mosque.
"They utterly destroyed part of the mosque, smashed all the mosque's windows, damaged the mosque building walls and the building alongside the mosque, smashed a water tank", read an official JAI press release on Saturday September 4, 2021. (iam/pmg)
Followers of Ahmadiyah, a sect founded in what is now Pakistan in 1889, profess that the group's founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, is the last prophet, a belief that runs counter to mainstream Islamic beliefs that reserve that claim for the Prophet Muhammad. The nation's highest authority on Islamic affairs, the Indonesian Council of Ulema (MUI), issued a fatwa in 2005 against the Ahmadiyah, calling its teachings blasphemous. And the government issued a joint ministerial decree in 2008 banning its members from practicing their faith in public or spreading its beliefs. Since then, persecution and attacks on Ahmadiyah followers have risen dramatically.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Kecemasan Jemaat Ahmadiyah Merembet dari Sintang ke Daerah Lain".]