Indonesia: Ahmadis expect dialogue with President Jokowi


Ahmadis expect dialogue with Jokowi

Against religious freedom: Public Order Agency personnel seal Al-Hidayah Mosque belonging to an Ahmadiyah religious sect community in Sawangan, Depok, West Java, on June 4. (Antara/Indrianto Eko Suwarso)

Followers of the Ahmadiyah religious sect are hoping to meet with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to tell the country’s leader to revoke the 2008 joint ministerial decree on Ahmadiyah, which prohibits members of the faith from propagating their teachings.

Ahmadiyah spokesman Yendra Budiana said perpetrators of almost all cases of persecution against the Ahmadis used the ministerial decree as the basis for their violent acts although the decree itself did not stipulate any ban against the sect’s members exercising their faith.

Yendra said the joint decree banned the Ahmadis from disseminating their beliefs. However, he said, local administrations tended to interpret the decree as a legal basis for banning Ahmadiyah followers from praying, which eventually led to rampant closures of mosques belonging to Ahmadiyah congregations.

“Meeting President Jokowi is our priority. We want to have a chance to tell him directly about our experiences […] The President can hold a dialogue with other people, so why can’t he engage in a dialogue with Ahmadiyah followers who have endured persecution for decades?” Yendra told The Jakarta Post in Jakarta on Tuesday.

The Ahmadis also expected to meet with Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin to encourage him to become a mediator for explaining that the problematic joint decree could not be used to ban Ahmadis from practising their beliefs.

Yendra said the government also should provide a solution for hundreds of displaced Ahmadis who have taken refuge in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, for more than 10 years. (ebf)


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