Two groups in Jakarta and Bekasi threatened on Friday to attack two houses of worship, claiming that the mosque and church in question had caused disturbances in the respective areas.
Congregations of the Damai Kristus Catholic Church in Tambora, West Jakarta, and the Al-Misbah Mosque in Pondok Gede, Bekasi, were threatened that their places of worship would be attacked if they did not comply with the groups’ warnings to halt activities at the sites.
On Thursday, the Bekasi administration sealed the mosque, which is used by Ahmadiyah followers, with local worshippers saying they believed the threat came from the Jatibening wing of the Islam Defenders Front ( FPI ).
Local government officials subsequently erected a sign saying that Ahmadiyah had been classified a heretical sect by the Indonesian Ulema Council ( MUI ) and, therefore, people were expected to desist from any activities in the mosque.
One of the Ahmadis, Deden Darmawan Sudjana, said the threat had coincided with the swearing-in of the new FPI branch chairman.
“We were surprised when they threatened an attack. In fact, we have had good relations with them for many years. This threat is the first since the mosque was established in the 1980s,” Deden told The Jakarta Post on Friday. “I personally had a very close relationship with their previous chairman, Idris, who passed away in 2011.”
On Friday evening, around 200 Ahmadis were guarding the mosque to prevent any attack, along with the help of around 30 police personnel, Deden said.
The Jakarta Legal Aid Institute ( LBH ) released a statement on Friday saying that the Bekasi administration had violated the law in forbidding the Ahmadis from worshipping in their mosque.
“The Bekasi administration has no right to issue such an order. Only the central government can do that,” Yunita Purnama of LBH Jakarta said in the statement.
Separately on Friday, around 200 people from the South Duri Mosque and Mushola Forum threatened to attack the church in Tambora.
Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Rikwanto said that police were following up and were conducting surveillance near the church.
“From the information we have received, the group has canceled the attack. Nevertheless, police officers remain on standby,” he said. —JP/fzm