The Jakarta Globe:
Thirty members of Bekasi’s beleaguered Ahmadiyah Muslim sect have been locked inside the shuttered Al-Misbah mosque since Bekasi Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) officers sealed the building last Thursday.
“These thirty people were inside the mosque when the government put a fence around the mosque,” Firdaus Mubarik, spokesman of Ahmadiyah Indonesian Congregation (JAI), said on Monday. “When the officers shut down the mosque they were not asked to leave.”
The community members remained in the mosque on April 4 as Satpol PP officers installed heavy iron gates and a fence around the building. When they tried to leave, they found all exits blocked, Firdaus said. They plan to remain in the building until the Bekasi government reopens the mosque.
Police in Pondok Gede, Bekasi, have reportedly harassed Ahmadiyah members who attempted to deliver food to the mosque, Firdaus said.
“He [Pondok Gede Police chief Comr. Dedy Tabrani] threatened those who tried to feed them, saying they would be arrested,” Firdaus said. “Luckily there was still food inside. We gave them food on Friday, at midnight, to avoid the cops. On Saturday, the same threats were heard again.”
The police chief apologized to Imam Rahmat Ragmadija and sent the thirty people orders of fried rice once news of the threats hit the media. The community can now safely deliver food, but have to use a ladder to hand the packages over the gate.
Dedy denied threatening Ahmadiyah members and said he only prohibited people from entering the building.
“As the Bekasi government had sealed the building legally, we could not let anyone get in,” he told Kompas.com. “They are allowed to get, but in the case of a building being sealed, no one is allowed to get in without permission from the officials, in this case from Bekasi government.”
Pondok Gede Police will not prevent food from being delivered, he said.
“There was a house beside the mosque that had cooking utensils,” Dedy said. “So they can cook for themselves.”
Bekasi Mayor Rahmat Effendi, of the Golkar Party, said the mosque was sealed to prevent future bloodshed, but critics called it another example of governments in West Java cowing to pressure from hard-line Islamic organizations.
The city’s small Ahmadiyah community have held regular prayers at the Pondok Gede mosque since 1998. They continued to operate without incident despite Islamic officials assertion that the Ahmadiyah are a “deviant” branch of Islam. But pressure began to build once the hard-line Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) announced plans for a Pondok Gede branch.
Religious intolerance is on the rise in Indonesia, with several high-profile incidents occurring in the heavily populated province of West Java. A recent report by Human Rights Watch accused the Indonesian government of failing to protect the rights of minoritie
Report from the Jakarta Post:
Bekasi Ahmadis continue to fight over mosque closure