Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ahmadi in Court Over Stabbing as Banten District Bans Sect Entirely

Jakarta Globe, Indonesia
Ahmadi in Court Over Stabbing as Banten District Bans Sect Entirely
Vento Saudale & Ulma Haryanto | February 24, 2011

Ahmad Nuryamin, an Ahmadi accused of wounding a 15-year-old boy, told the Cibinong District Court on Thursday that he had panicked and “accidentally” stabbed one of about 200 men who attacked and looted his village last year.

“I saw Rendy [the victim] coming from the opposite direction carrying a samurai sword. I pulled my knife and accidentally stabbed him,” Ahmad told the panel of judges.

Ahmad, a 35-year-old farmer and trader, said he had just returned home from fishing and had the knife on him when he heard a commotion outside.

Earlier, Ahmad had claimed his knife had been in its sheath during the entire attack.

Rendy was believed to have been part of a mob of some 200 people who on Oct. 1 burned and looted homes, schools and a mosque in Cisalada village in Bogor, West Java, home to about 600 followers of the Ahmadiyah.

Two witnesses gave accounts of the attack to the court, but neither saw the stabbing. “I remember people brandishing machetes, samurai swords and bamboo spears,” one witness told the judges.

The court adjourned the case until March 3.

Meanwhile, in the neighboring province of Banten, the Ahmadiyah is being curtailed even beyond the 2008 joint ministerial decree that bans the sect from practicing its religion openly and proselytizing, media reports indicate.

Lebak district would soon issue a bylaw banning the sect entirely, and the administration of Pandeglang district already issued such a decree on Monday, Antara news agency reported.

“The [deadly] clash in Cikeusik [on Feb. 6] is strong evidence that people reject the existence of the Ahmadiyah. Therefore there will be a bylaw banning it soon,” Lebak District Chief Mulyadi Jayabaya was quoted as saying by the Coordinating Ministry for People’s Welfare on Thursday.

On Feb. 6 a mob of about 1,500 people attacked about 20 Ahmadiyah members in Cikeusik village, which also falls under Banten’s jurisdiction, resulting in the death of three Ahmadiyah members.

Coordinating Minister for People’s Welfare Agung Laksono said in a statement that he appreciated all plans by local administrations to issue bylaws that are created “to better people’s lives.”

“It is the right of every district and provincial administration, together with councilors, to draft and issue bylaws,” he added.

However, Indonesian commissioner to the Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, Rafendi Djamin, said such statements harmed Indonesia’s international image as a democracy.

“Within Asean, Indonesia was perceived as one of the states with a strong democracy, with freedom of the press and speech, and a critical civil society. But this image will fade if our law enforcement cannot prevent intolerant acts happening everywhere,” he told the Jakarta Globe.

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