INDONESIA: Ahmadiyah community faces ongoing discrimination

An interview with Zaenuda Ikhwanul Aziz from the Indonesian Ahmadiyah Community (JAI) published by the Asian Human Rights Commission regarding the situation faced by Ahmadis in Indonesia..

Zaenuda Ikhwanul Aziz, is the secretary of the legal committee of the Indonesian Ahmadiyah Jamaah (JAI). He is actively involved in the struggle of the Ahmadiyah in the country.

How do you feel about what is happening to the Ahmadiyah community in Indonesia?

We feel that we are being discriminated against, especially the Ahmadiyah communities at the localities outside the capital of Jakarta. For example, the government does not give identification cards and marriage certificates to Ahmadiyahs.

At the economic sector many Ahmadiyahs have had to change the location of their businesses. Even in some provinces, the people from the community are intimidated not to buy products from Ahmadiyah shops and businesses and this has resulted in a serious reduction of our income.

In the social sector we also are excluded and intimidated. We are not allowed to be involved in social gatherings.

At the religious sector the Minister of Religion prohibits us from conducting the Hajj, (the pilgrimage to Mekka) and even when we pray, members of the local communities attack our mosques. Sometimes, our villages are also attacked.

Also, in the health sector, many people reject Ahmadiyahs as patients. We therefore feel discriminated against in most, if not all, sectors.

When did you start to feel the discrimination?

The discrimination started when the Indonesian Ulama Assembly (Majelis Ulama Indonesia – MUI) declared Ahmadiyah as an errant sect in around 2005. This fatwa brought to light the differences between Ahmadiyahs and the community. The people followed the fatwa believing that Ahmadiyah is errant without seeking any further explanation or consideration.

The main actors involved are the Indonesian government, central and local law enforcement authorities and several Ulama members who influence the people to attack Ahmadiyah communities. This is especially so with those persons who live within Ahmadiyah communities.

In your opinion, what is the reason for the increase of the aggression against Ahmadiyahs in the last few years?

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