Jakarta. Religious freedom advocacy group Setara Institute criticized a mob attack on an Ahmadi mosque in Ringinarum, a subdistrict of Kendal in Central Java, on Monday (23/05), saying it violated the principles of religious freedom.
As reported by Kompas.com, dozens of unidentified men vandalized the Ahmadi mosque just before dawn on Monday. Walls were torn down, windows and ceilings smashed and books—including the Koran—torn up.
No groups have claimed responsibility for the attack. A local cleric said the incident caused at least Rp 200 million ($15,000) in damages.
Setara Institute chairman Hendardi said the attack was a blatant criminal act that targeted a religious minority group, as the Ahmadi mosque is a legal house of worship—with all the papers to prove it.
Hendardi said the mosque secured a house of worship permit in 2003. The government–then under the leadership of former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono– issued a restriction on the Ahmadiyya sect in a controversial joint-ministerial decree five years later.
“The Ahmadiyya restriction is not relevant in this case. You can’t ban existing Ahmadi mosques as the decree only stops people from proselytizing the Ahmadiyya belief,” Hendardi said in a statement.
Setara Institute has recorded 114 attacks on Ahmadi mosques all across the country since 2007, mostly committed by local residents with the assistance of local government officials.
Hendardi called on Home Affairs Minister Tjahjo Kumolo to take the necessary actions to protects the rights and religious freedom of Indonesia’s Ahmadis.
“In Bangka Belitung, the minister managed to protect Ahmadis there, despite the district head’s effort to kick them out of the area. The minister must protect these Ahmadis in Kendal, too,” Hendardi said, referring to the unlawful eviction of Ahmadiyya community members in Bangka last January.
Indonesia has seen a spate of violence against members of religious minority groups recent years, especially the Ahmadis and the Shiites.
In 2008, President Yudhoyono signed a decree ordering the Ahmadiyya community to “stop spreading interpretations and activities that deviate from the principal teachings of Islam.” Violations of the decree are subject to up to five years of imprisonment.
Source : Jakartaglobe.beritasatu.com