Monday, March 14, 2011

Police, Military ‘Intimidate’ Bogor Ahmadis to Convert

Jakarta Globe, Indonesia
Police, Military ‘Intimidate’ Bogor Ahmadis to Convert
Ulma Haryanto & Elisabeth Oktofani | March 14, 2011

Police and military officers in West Java have coerced Ahmadiyah members into renounce their faith through bribery and intimidation, two groups said on Sunday.

Firdaus Mubarik, a spokesman for the Indonesia Ahmadiyah Congregation (JAI), said he had received reports from Ahmadis across West Java that police and military officers had been visiting their homes, asking them to sign sworn statements renouncing their faith.

The allegation comes on the same day that a group of 40 demonstrators broke into an Ahmadiyah mosque in Cipeuyeum, West Java, and burned the group’s religious books.

“Police were there. The mob did not destroy the mosque or clash with the Ahmadis,” said Asep Isamudin, head of the JAI in Cianjur district.

“They burned the books and the Korans because they believe Ahmadiyah is in violation of the joint ministerial decree and the recently issued gubernatorial decree banning the activities of the sect in West Java,” he said.

Firdaus said at least seven Ahmadis previously residing in the village of Leuwisadeng, located some six kilometers from Ciaruteun Udik, the scene of an attack on Friday that damaged houses owned by Ahmadis, had relocated to Bogor.

“They were intimidated into signing a statement,” he said. “They feared for their lives.

“The village administration head also informed them that if they insisted on remaining Ahmadis, it would be difficult for them to get their ID cards processed, and to get their children an education.

“The Ahmadi villagers were also offered up to Rp 150,000 [$14)] to renounce their beliefs.”

Safwan Adnan, head of the West Java branch of the JAI, said that similar tactics were occurring in Majalengka and Tasikmalaya, both in the province.

He said that on Friday, 40 police and military officers from Bandung, accompanied by members of the West Java branch of the Indonesian Council of Ulema (MUI), arrived at Ahmadiyah’s Mubarak Mosque in Bandung.

“They said they wanted to lead the Friday prayers,” he said. The Ahmadis, he added, rebuked the group.

“They were showing off, trying to prove that they had managed to convert followers of Ahmadiyah,” he said.

Muhammad Isnur, from the Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation, said that Ahmadis in Ciareteun and Leuwisadeng were rounded up on Saturday.

“They were briefed by the Bogor Police, officers from the regional military command and the village’s ulema, among others, on the contents of the new gubernatorial decree,” he said.

Even though the decree itself is unconstitutional, he said, the Ahmadis were advised to obey.

“The Ahmadis can move out if they don’t feel safe,” he said. “The preaching at mosques has gotten worse — there are calls to kill, attack and hang the Ahmadis.”

Bogor Police Chief Dadang Rahardja said “the good news” is that seven of the Ahmadi villagers who were attacked on Friday “will declare themselves Muslim, and they decided this by their own will.”

He denied that police officers had intimidated Ahmadis. “It was only socialization. We will not force them because faith is about human rights.”

Copyright 2010 The Jakarta Globe
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