Jakarta Post: While Muslims in big cities are busy shopping and stockpiling for the Ramadhan fasting month, some 140 Ahmadiyah followers in West Nusa Tenggara have to face the reality that they are still living in a refugee camp after being evicted from their homes seven years ago.
Wisma Transito transmigration center has been their home since Feb. 4, 2006 when hundreds of local residents ousted them because of their “deviant” Islamic beliefs.
The central government once allocated social aid for the refugees, but this stopped in 2008. According to the Ahmadis, the government has neglected their civil rights, including issuing them with identity cards. Twenty babies that were born at the camp during the last seven years have yet to receive their birth certificates.
Without identity cards and birth certificates, the Ahmadis cannot access any health care or education facilities from the government.
Discrimination against Ahmadis is common, given their status as a minority sect that claims to be part of Islam but believes that their leader Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is the last prophet. Ahmadis often experience violence from other Muslims who consider their teachings blasphemous.
Despite their beliefs, the Ahmadi refugees have decided that they will follow the government’s announcement that Ramadhan will begin on Saturday.