Jakarta. Ahmadiyah Muslims in Tebet have urged the South Jakarta mayor to help mediate a peaceful settlement with a hard-line Muslim organization after an incident on Friday raised already heightened tensions between the two groups.
“We have sent a letter to the mayor asking for a reconciliation. We never received any protests from the local residents. Why is this happening now?” Yendra Budiana, a spokesperson for the Ahmadi group in Tebet, told CNN Indonesia on Tuesday.
Members of the Islamic Defenders’ Front (FPI) have not spoken out about the matter.
The FPI, a rent-a-mob that cites Islamic pretexts to justify its acts of criminal violence and vandalism, took umbrage at the sight of a group of Ahmadis preparing to hold Friday noon prayers in the front yard of a house — which has served as their place of worship for decades — in the Bukit Duri ward of South Jakarta’s Tebet subdistrict.
After failing to persuade the Ahmadis to join the rest of the neighborhood’s men for prayers at a nearby mosque, the mob threatened to turf out the group, accusing it of heresy. Police were later called to the scene to avert a clash, but the FPI members threatened to return on Sunday.
They were duly back as promised, and harangued the Ahmadis. The police, who said they would post officers outside the house, were nowhere to be seen.
The Ahmaidiyah, a branch of Islam that took root in British India in the 19th century, has long been the brunt of violence and protests across Indonesia, with the Indonesian Council of Ulema (MUI) calling for an outright ban of the sect.