‘The Anti Ahmadiyyah law has become an instrument for the government to legitimize its actions.’—– Jamaah Ahmadiyah a political scapegoat.
Written by: IPCS (Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies)
……… the sect was officially banned through a Joint Decree signed on 9 June 2008. The decree severely curtails the freedom of the sect and its members. For instance, the second point of the Decree prohibits Ahmadiyah members from the interpretation and practice of activities that deviate from the fundamental teachings of Islam. The decree also states that those who ignore the warning would be punishable under law. As a result of the decree, local authorities have tried to limit the Ahmadiyah’s activities in several areas in Indonesia. They have ordered the Ahmadis to take down signs that indicate their mosques and schools and encouraged other Islamic groups to re-educate and re-integrate the Ahmadis within mainstream Islam. Local authorities have also notably encouraged other people in the area to monitor the activities of the Ahmadis.
The Decree has provided justification for the misconduct of the state apparatus towards the Ahmadiyah, especially at the time of its implementation. The failure of the state to protect the Ahmadis from violence reflects its failure to protect the religious freedom of its citizens. The current situation has been relegated to one of state-sponsored violence against the Ahmadis. The strong influence of the Islamic hardliners on the Ministry of Religion and its policies and actions has contributed immensely towards this. As far back as 1980, the Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI) or Indonesian Ulema Council issued a fatwa against the Jamaah Ahmadiyah denouncing them for deviating from fundamental Islamic teachings. The fatwa was reinforced in 2005, and the MUI officially asked the government to ban the spreading of Ahmadiyah’s teachings, freeze the organization and close all the Jamaah’s activities.
The use of violence, especially one that is state-sponsored, against the Ahmadis, is a very recent trend. It raises several questions: Why is the Jamaah Ahmadiyah being targeted right now? And in comparison to other sects, what makes the Ahmadiyah more politically important for it to be banned?