Indonesia: Ahmadiyah Nur Khilafat Mosque sealed in Ciamis | Ahmadis demand re-opening

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Ahmadiyah mosque sealed off in Ciamis

Members of the Islamic Defenders Front hold a protest in Ciamis district calling for the closure of the Ahmadiya sect's mosque.

Members of the Islamic Defenders Front hold a protest in Ciamis district calling for the closure of the Ahmadiya sect’s mosque.

Officials of the Ciamis Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) have sealed an Ahmadiyah mosque on Jl. Cipto Mangunkusumo in Ciamis, West Java on Thursday, as they have been ordered to do so by the city’s Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) and several other Islamic organizations.

“We’ve locked up the mosque starting from today. This is a follow-up action based on a meeting that we held on Wednesday to discuss the closure,” said Dedi Iwa, the head of security for Ciamis Satpol PP, said as quoted by on Thursday evening.

Dedi said his agency had coordinated with the local police and the Indonesian Military (TNI), as well as the city’s MUI branch and the Interfaith Harmony Forum (FKUB), to ensure that Ahmadis in the area would not engage in any activity, based on the 2013 joint-ministerial decree to ban Ahmadiyah activities.

“We will pursue the legal process if they insist on continuing their activities,” he said.

Meanwhile, Muhammad Saiful, Ahmadiyah leader for the eastern part of West Java, said his group had not yet received official news from Satpol PP about the sealing.

Saiful said the Ciamis board of Ahmadis had sent a letter of complaint to Regent Iing Syam Arifin regarding his reaction when Islamic organizations held a protest in front of the regent’s office to urge the local administration to seal the mosque on June 23.

During the protest on June 23, the regent received the board members to talk about the complaint letter, but Satpol PP officials had gathered at the mosque.

“The closure will see us hold our activities on the mosque’s terrace and I’m planning to approach the regent again, because we are going to start Ramadhan this month and the 1945 Constitution guarantees religious freedom,” he said.

In May, the Bekasi city government locked down the Al-Misbah mosque, a place of worship for Ahmadis, in Bekasi, West Java. (gda)


Indonesian Ahmadis demand re-opening of their mosque

Followers of the minority Muslim Ahmadiya sect are demanding that they be allowed to re-open their mosque which was sealed off on Thursday by local officials in Ciamis district, West Java.

Officials from the district’s Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) hung a white banner over the door of the Nur Khilafat Mosque Thursday morning. The banner stated that the mosque was closed for all activities. According to Satpol PP, the mosque was sealed off in accordance with the 2008 joint ministerial decree banning Ahmadiya from propagating their interpretation of Islam.

“We are now facing an uncertain situation following the closure … whether or not we can hold activities in our mosque during the Holy Month of Ramadan,” Kamal Abdul Aziz, head of the district’s Indonesian Ahmadiya Congregation, told Friday. “The only hope we have is that we can meet with the [Satpol PP] head or other district officials to demand a re-opening of our mosque,” he said, adding that he planned to meet soon with an assistant to the district official dealing with the case.

On Monday, around 300 members of the district’s Islamic Defenders Front held a protest in front of the mosque to demand its closure.  A number of police officers stood guard outside the mosque during the protest. “In our view, the joint ministerial decree doesn’t mention a ban on freedom of worship. So the closure is against our freedom of worship,” Aziz said. Such a closure, he said, could be justified only if there was an official letter from the court.

“Now we can only use the terrace of our mosque to hold activities,” Aziz added. In April, the district’s Indonesian Ulema Council called for Ahmadis to be banned from practicing their faith because it deviates “from the principal teachings of Islam”. However, the Ahmadis, who number about 200 in Ciamis district, had continued to worship in their mosque until its closure on Thursday.

Requesting prayers for the Indonesian Jama’at.

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