Nangkernang village in Sampang regency, East Java: (kompas.com)Despite having suffered from Sunday’s mayhem, Shiite followers insisted on staying in Sampang, Madura, rejecting the government’s plan to relocate them.
Given that local residents have attacked Shiites there on several occasions, the government is considering relocating the community to a “safer place”.
“I will carefully consider the best solution, whether to let them stay there [in Sampang] or relocate them,” said Home Minister Gamawan Fauzi on Monday, as quoted by kompas.com. A representative of the Shia group Ahlul Bait Indonesia, said that relocation would take away their homeland and alienate them.
“Shiites have been living there for a long time. It makes no sense that they, who have been persecuted and whose houses have been burnt down, should be forced to move from their land,” the group secretary general Ahmad Hidayat told The Jakarta Post Digital on Tuesday.
“Moreover, who can guarantee that Shiites will not be attacked in their new settlements?” he added.
It is not the first time the government has considered the relocation of minority groups. Two years ago, the Lombok administration agreed to relocate about 150 Ahmadiyah followers. Without any notice, the plan was dropped and the Ahmadis continued to live in shelters.
“I believe the ones who should be relocated are the perpetrators who attacked us. People who hate peace are better living alone,” Ahmadiyah spokesperson Firdaus Mubarak told the Post.
Despite several episodes of lingering conflict, Indonesia succeeded in halting violence against Ahmadis in Kuningan, West Java, in 2010. To improve residents’ mutual understanding, Kuningan Police chief Sr. Comr. Yoyoh Indayah hosted inter-religious discussions named the “Wednesday forum”.
“However, Ahmadiis in Kuningan can’t obtain identification cards, making impossible for them to register their marriage or to join haj pilgrimages,” Firdaus added. (yps)