Indonesia: Displaced Ahmadis hope for change after Jokowi’s inauguration

Source: thejakartapost.com

The inauguration of Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Jusuf Kalla as the Indonesian president and vice president for 2014-2019 has brought hope to displaced Ahmadis, who have been living at the Wisma Transito shelter in Mataram, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), after being expelled from their homes in West Lombok in 2006.

Speaking to The Jakarta Post on Monday, several Ahmadis said they hoped the Jokowi presidency could bring change to their lives as they had been living in uncertainty for eight years, with the previous government dragging its feet on addressing the problem.

“We hope that after the Jokowi-Kalla inauguration, we can have the basic rights and freedom enjoyed by other Indonesians. There should be no more discrimination and intimidation. The government should be fair in treating Indonesian citizens, regardless of faith,” said Syahidin, 52, the coordinator of displaced Ahmadis in Mataram.

Currently, at least 30 Ahmadiyah families comprising 118 people live at the Wisma Transito Mataram. They were forced from their homes in Ketapang, Gegerung village, Lingsar district, West Lombok, at the beginning of 2006.

The NTB administration stopped providing basic needs to them, such as food, medicine and clothes, in 2008.

The province’s Social Affairs Agency said it had stopped providing assistance because according to a Social Affairs Ministry regulation, displaced persons could retain their status, including their right to humanitarian support, only for a maximum of two years after taking refuge in temporary shelters.

Syahidin said that since 2006, 22 babies had been born to Ahmadis at the Wisma Transito shelter and six had died.

Most of the Ahmadis, who were previously farmers and farmhands, have taken casual jobs, such as by working as motorcycle taxi (ojek) drivers, street vendors or construction workers, to meet their basic needs.

Syahidin said they hoped that Jokowi-Kalla and their Cabinet ministers would be more sensitive to their needs.

He said the Ahmadis wanted to return to their hometown and live a normal life, such as making a decent living and sending their children to school, just like other citizens.

Swearing-in of President, VP celebrated nationwide

The swearing-in on Monday of Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Jusuf Kalla as President and Vice President, respectively, was celebrated across the archipelago, albeit in different ways.

In another corner of the city, namely Pasar Gede, people gathered together to watch a live TV broadcast of the swearing-in ceremony on a giant screen that was installed at a corner of the market.

After the inauguration ceremony had ended, market traders distributed free fruit tumpeng (rice cone) for people to enjoy.

In Makassar, South Sulawesi, some 300 employees and volunteers from the Kalla Group joined a program held at Wisma Kalla, the offices of Jusuf Kalla’s company, where they enjoyed the 45 tumpeng prepared for the occasion.

A thanksgiving ceremony and a music concert were also organized by Jokowi-Kalla volunteers in Karebosi Square, Makassar, from 5 p.m. local time, which ended with the release of 500 lanterns into the sky.

Jokowi and Kalla’s inauguration has also given hope to displaced Ahmadis, who have been living in the Wisma Transito shelter in Mataram, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), since they were driven from their homes in West Lombok in 2006.

Speaking to The Jakarta Post on Monday, several Ahmadis said they hoped Jokowi’s presidency would bring a positive change to their lives after living with uncertainty for eight years, while the previous government dragged its feet on addressing the problem.

“We hope that after the Jokowi-Kalla inauguration, we can have the same basic rights and freedoms enjoyed by other Indonesians. There must be no more discrimination and intimidation. The government should be fair in its treatment of Indonesian citizens, regardless of their faith,” said Syahidin, 52, the coordinator of displaced Ahmadis in Mataram.

Thirty Ahmadiyah families comprising 118 people live at the Wisma Transito shelter. They were forced from their homes in Ketapang, Gegerung village, Lingsar district, West Lombok, at the beginning of 2006.

Read more @ thejakartapost.com

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