Ahmadiyah blocked from Friday prayers
The Jakarta Post
The Jakarta Post
Dozens of people blocked a group of Ahmadis from performing their Friday prayers at their own An Nur Mosque in Bukit Duri Tanjakan, Tebet, South Jakarta, on Friday. Stared at by their tormentors, the Ahmadis were forced to fulfill their religious obligations on the street in front of the mosque.
Aryudi Prastowo, one of the congregation members, said that around 25 people came to the mosque at 10 a.m. to confront the worshippers. Around five of them wore Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) uniforms while the rest were an ustad (preacher) named Syakir and his followers.
'Syakir is a local ustad here and he has been our strongest opponent. He and his fellows stood in front of the mosque gate to prevent us from entering. We had to pray outside the mosque,' Aryudi told The Jakarta Post.
Only after making sure that the Ahmadis would not use the mosque, did the protesters leave to themselves go pray in another nearby mosque.
At around 1 p.m. they reportedly returned to threaten the Ahmadis, telling them that they would not hesitate to use violence if the Ahmadis remained defiant of their orders. The Ahmadis tried to argue, but to no avail.
'They ended up kicking our mosque gate until it fell down. One of them burned the right wrist of our fellow Fajar Kurniawan with a cigarette. We have reported this case to the Jakarta Police,' Aryudi explained.
The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), which has issued an edict declaring the Ahmadis as heretics, has repeatedly urged the goverment to ban Ahmadiyah because it differs from the teachings of the mainstream Sunni Islam. Shia Muslims have also faced the same treatment as the Ahmadi. Many regencies, cities and provinces have banned the two Islamic groups. Thousands of Ahmadis and Shias were forced to leave their homes in several places, including in Madura.
Meanwhile, Tebet Police chief Comr. I Ketut Sudarma said that he was at the location from the very beginning when the incident took place. He said he tried to mediate between the two parties.
'The presence of Ahmadiyah had been rejected some years ago in the area. Moreover, An Nur is not a mosque. It is a house and that's why it can't be used for Friday prayers. Residents in the neighborhood had frequently demanded the Ahmadis pray together with them in the community mosque, but the Ahmadis refused,' the police officer said.
Tebet subdistrict head Mardi Youce was also present and he said he tried to calm down both parties.'I can't side with one party. Two months ago the [Sunni] Muslims and Ahmadiyah representatives signed a pact. The latter agreed not to do Friday prayers at that place anymore,' he said.
Aryudi admitted the meeting occurred, but said, 'We only want to pray according to what we believe.'
He went on to say that Ahmadiyah had been in the area since the 1970s. Aryudi added that most of the residents accepted their presence and activities. He pointed his finger at the preacher Syakir, blaming him for the Ahmadi's troubles.
'He always said that we can't pray here, but when we asked why, he kept on insisting that we can't pray here and stated that our prayers disturbed his praying activities,' Aryudi said. (rbk)
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