Ati Nurbaiti, Canberra (The author is a staff writer at The Jakarta Post)
As of September this year, at least 26 regencies and municipalities have passed bylaws restricting or banning the Ahmadiyah sect, 11 of them in West Java alone, according to a list from the National Commission on Violence Against Women.
Some were issued after the murderous assault on the sect in Pandeglang regency, Banten, in February 2011; including the Banten bylaw itself. The Commission has said women and children of the sect were the most vulnerable in the attacks, which according to the Setara Institute have included 342 cases of assault from 2007 to 2011. This also includes the resettlement of an entire Ahmadiyah community to an island off Lombok.
The local regulations justify other citizens and authorities into closing down Ahmadi mosques, forcing them out of their homes, or ordering them to denounce Islam if they insist on their beliefs. Unlike mainstream Muslims, the Ahmadiyah do not believe that Muhammad is the last prophet, saying they differentiate between prophets and messengers. Read more