Ahmadiyya Congregation: “We are like corpses, there is no feeling anymore”

Illustration of HL Indepth Minority.  tirto.id/Lugas
Illustration of HL Indepth Minority. tirto.id/Lugas

By: Felix Nathaniel – January 19, 2022 Every year there is always bad news that befell the Ahmadiyah. I don’t know how long it keeps repeating.tirto.id – The window of Yuspiar Lukas’ house had a hole in it for one year. The glass is broken. Even with the trees he planted. The road to the house is often blocked by large logs. Those are all risks that must be borne just because he is an Ahmadiyah follower, an Ahmadi.

When he first lived in Sawangan Baru, Depok, West Java, opposite the Al-Hidayah Mosque in 2002, Yus (56), his nickname, had no intention of joining Ahmadiyah at all. He considers himself to be part of the nahdiyin who are quite diligent in worshiping. Enlightenment, calling, or whatever it was that made him believe came in the same year. Just one official meeting, he became interested in Ahmadiyah.

https://bb7d35b0d29801bc5784e737ae814635.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.htmlYus’ encounter with Ahmadiyah members was not accidental. While taking shelter due to heavy rain opposite the mosque, an Ahmadi approached and invited him to talk about household topics. When the rain stopped, Yus was invited to meet again, pray at the mosque. That promise he fulfilled three weeks later.

After meeting some Ahmadiyah people and feeling at ease hearing their prayers and recitations, Yus decided to join the Indonesian Ahmadiyya Congregation (JAI). Not long after that, Yus even decided not to take the two jobs that came just so he could join Jalsa Salana, JAI’s annual get-together.

Yus remembers well how he was so happy to participate in the event and brought flyers from the location to be distributed in Depok. “This is the real Islam, I have to spread it,” he thought at the time. He then shared it with his friends. However, the leaflet ended up as a barrier between asphalt and shoes, and even became a platform for playing gaple.

Yus certainly didn’t like it, but at least he was lucky that time because his partner didn’t do any intimidation.

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The years that followed were not so welcoming. Many local residents were not happy with the presence of Yus and his family. Several times even the head of the local RT came and complained about the status of Yus and his family as JAI. It was the wife who often bore the residents’ frustration because Yus was often not at home.

The most severe usually occurs during the fasting month. The trees he planted were cut down; the glass of the house was shattered.

Yus chose not to fight back. “I remember there was a point [in allegiance] that we should put religion before the world. I believe this is only a test from Allah SWT,” Yus explained his reason for being passive to Tirto .

A similar fate befell Maim, a teenager who this year is in high school. Yanto, Maim’s parent, said that his son used to be made fun of just because of Ahmadi’s attack.

Before entering school, Yanto had told the principal that his son was an Ahmadiyah follower. The reason is not fear of being discriminated against, but to maintain the faith of the child. When praying Friday, Yanto asked for help so that his son was allowed to go home early because his understanding of Islam was different from Islam at school. The principal doesn’t have a problem. Even with peers who are all tolerant.

The problem actually comes from the religious teacher. In class, Maim is often insinuated as a follower of a deviant sect. Annoyed, but Maim could not do much. “When that’s the case, he usually leaves class,” said Yanto to Tirto.

Apart from the two examples above, we often hear of similar things–the discriminatory treatment of Ahmadiyah followers in Indonesia–for example the case in Sintang that emerged in September last year. Then there was also the case of sealing the mosque in Depok which was widely discussed last October.

If you pass Jalan Raya Muchtar, Sawangan Baru, Depok City, West Java, you will see a mosque that looks more like an uninhabited house with the fence closed tightly and in the yard filled with the rubble of former buildings. The place for the Koran was turned into a badminton court and right in the middle of a rainbow stood with a large inscription: THIS ACTIVITY IS SEALED. Its name is Al-Hidayah Mosque.

Unlike other mosques, Al-Hidayah is used to quiet congregations, especially during a pandemic. It is only during Friday prayers that the mosque is crowded. The mosque which was originally only inhabited by a preacher and marbut can be packed with 30 to 40 people.

On October 22, 2021, the congregation was even busier than usual, reaching around 60-70 people. Friday prayers went on as usual. However, when the congregation was about to go home, suddenly they heard screams from outside. The crowd gathered at the door of the mosque. At that time, it turned out that the Depok City Government wanted to re-seal the mosque because the seal signs installed in 2017 were considered obsolete and the writing was difficult to read.

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The day before, the Depok City Satpol PP had come to meet the Depok City JAI missionary who has been on duty since 2018, Abdul Hafidz, to convey the plan to install the new seal. When met by Tirto on Sunday, January 2, Abdul admitted that the meeting was very conducive, especially since the officers who came from East Java, where he had served for a long time.

Abdul could only accept the plan because JAI’s activities were still prohibited. He didn’t mind at all. Still, the crowd that day took him by surprise.

“Okay, let ‘s be fair . Okay. How hard is it, to break the new seal, paint a new one. Well, let’s just relax,” said Abdul. “But the next day they came with the crowd, so it was crowded.”

Abdul received his JAI education in the Parung area. He was then assigned to areas of East Java such as Madiun, Pacitan, Ponorogo, Ngawi, and Magetan. There, although the Muslim community is considered one of the largest in Indonesia, Abdul admitted that there were fewer rejections of JAI than in Depok. He even said “getting heaven on earth” if assigned to places away from a lot of rejection and the possibility of intimidation and violence.

When he was assigned to Depok to replace Farid Mahmud Ahmad who was transferred to a remote area, Abdul actually already knew that this area was a “vulnerable zone”. Apart from the fact that the mosque has been sealed since 2017, the community’s rejection is still felt. In addition, according to him, the Al-Hidayah Mosque which was founded in the 1990s is indeed quite large, which has a congregation of 500 people. That number is fairly high and of course also gets a worthy risk of rejection from around.

Despite being intimidated by the masses on October 22, Abdul assured the congregation not to attack back or trigger a commotion. Abdul was worried about them as well as the mosque’s belongings. Even if the masses finally attack and endanger lives, he considers it fate. Abdul admitted that he had “waqfed” his life to Allah. No matter what, he believed faith would not betray him.

“So we are like corpses,” said Abdul with a small laugh. “A corpse, right, kicked, beaten, there’s no feeling anymore. I, and our family, have decided that way.”

Bragging about Tolerance

In 2008, the Joint Decree of the Minister of Religion, the Attorney General, and the Minister of Home Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia Number 3 of 2008, Number KEP-033/A/JA/6/2008, Number 1999 of 2008 concerning Warnings and Orders to Adherents, Members, and/or or Member of the Management of the Indonesian Ahmadiyya Congregation (JAI) and Community Members. This regulation essentially prohibits JAI from spreading their teachings. Since then, JAI’s life has been pushed aside. In various regions, similar regulations began to appear which increasingly cornered the Ahmadiyah followers. From the beginning, it was only forbidden to spread the teachings to forcibly close the mosque.

In Depok, the Al-Hidayah Mosque became a target for mobs after the Depok City Government issued Mayor Regulation No. 9 of 2011, followed by Depok Mayor’s Order No. 300/130 1-SatPolPP on February 22, 2017. Since then, their mosque has been fitted with seals.

At that time Komnas HAM issued a warning to the Mayor of Depok, Mohammad Idris, that what he had done was wrong. The mosque has had a Building Permit (IMB) as a residence and place of worship since 2007. For Komnas HAM, the sealing was an “arbitrary act.”

But the warning letter was ignored. Idris reasoned that the sealing was a surveillance effort.

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After the new seal was installed in 2021, JAI was still unable to calm down because almost every Friday there were members of the Satpol PP who came to supervise activities at the mosque.

In the 2020 Setara Institute research, JAI is among the top five victims of violations of religious freedom. In the same year’s research, Setara found that Depok was one of the cities with the worst tolerance scores. Of the 94 cities researched, Depok is ranked 92. If it is more specific to the indicator of the number of violations of religious freedom, Depok is ranked 86th.

Two years earlier, the Setara Institute published research with similar results. At that time, the Mayor, Mohammad Idris , did not believe it. “Who says it? Prove it. Depok City is the most tolerant city and this has been proven by University of Indonesia experts, surveys, and researchers. Depok is even more tolerant than Jakarta.”

In the Setara Institute survey, Depok is indeed superior to Jakarta, but only by one level.

People don’t always bother. However, said the head of RT 03 Iman Munaji, the leader of the area where the Al-Hidayah Mosque is located, “it’s not that we agree either.” “As long as he doesn’t bother us, well, we’re just like this. So far, there has been no invitation from them to join Ahmadiyah. So, yes, we are calm,” he told Tirto.

However, Iman admits that there are people who actively voice their rejection of Ahmadiyah. Usually they convey it in lectures at the mosque and never lead to violence. “Protests are usually from community leaders, from local clerics,” he said. “And actually the protest was more of an oversight.”

Abdul Hafidz confirmed Iman’s statement. Abdul said more residents around the mosque appreciate differences in beliefs. Local residents are not antipathy to the social activities carried out by the Ahmadis.

Because of that he believed those who came to enliven the sealing on October 22 were actually from outside. “We are not elementary school children yesterday afternoon. The patterns are the same from the past,” said Abdul. He also suspects that they were mobilized by certain individuals or groups. “I don’t know who mobilized it. It’s just the fact that together, go home together.”

Things like this ultimately lowered his expectations. It is no longer able to spread teachings, but simply to practice their beliefs in secret.

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Since the issuance of the 3 Ministerial Decree, the president has changed many times. In the first period of Joko Widodo’s administration, 2014-2019, not much has changed even though he is called a pluralist. Then, in the second term, Jokowi hooked Ma’ruf Amin to become vice president. Ma’ruf previously served as Chairman of the MUI Fatwa Commission which issued a fatwa banning Ahmadiyah.

In such a situation, it is only natural that Abdul has not seen a bright spot so that Ahmadiyah can be free of belief without feeling pressured.

But precisely because of that, Abdul admitted that their tolerance was good. “What should be taught are people who reject Ahmadiyah, conservative or fanatical citizens and reject people,” he said, “try once in a while [to] Manado and become a minority there. It must feel bad to be in the minority.”

“I used to go to a Christian high school in Manado. Not because we don’t want to be friends with fellow Muslims, but we are more comfortable with people of different religions. It’s not the same fate. Actually in Manado, right, the majority are Christians, but they don’t mind and confuse education with belief,” said Abdul.

Yuspiar Lukas agrees with Abdul. From a long time ago, he was used to tolerance thanks to his father’s upbringing, who is Muslim but is also familiar with other religions and ethnic groups.

Keeping Sanity Amid Tempest

Abdul Hafidz tries to maintain good relations with local residents and therefore he never spreads what he believes in to the community. “Just ask them, we never invited them to join Ahmadiyah.” What Abdul refers to are children and teenagers who often play badminton in the mosque field.

He also teaches his children to socialize normally. Luckily, his son, who is still in elementary school, does not experience discrimination at school. “Teachers already know that we are Ahmadiyya,” he said.

Once in 2020, his son represented the school for a city-level Al-Qur’an reading competition (MTQ). Even though it failed in the end, Abdul was still proud. At that time, representatives were chosen from grades 3-6 of elementary school, and their child was only in grade 4. If at that time he passed, the jury from Depok City came from the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), the institution that issued the fatwa that Ahmadiyah was a deviant sect in 2005. Later he will see my son, his Koran is just as great as the others,” said Abdul.

Yuspiar Lukas also tried the same thing, socializing naturally. He sometimes trains children who play badminton in the mosque field. For Yus, social activities like this, as well as the distribution of sacrifices on Eid al-Adha are useful so that Ahmadiyah can be accepted by the community.

However, Yus still hopes that Ahmadiyah will be given space to explain their teachings. Whether in the future anyone wants to come or not, it’s in God’s hands, he said. “If he joins, yes, that’s guidance. Not from me.”

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Infographic Fate of Ahmadiyya in Indonesia

Every year there is always bad news that befell the Ahmadiyah. Every time, various institutions such as Komnas HAM or the Setara Institute have defended.

But things never seem to get better. Finally, Abdul’s question to me will be relevant until I know how long it will take:

“Sorry sir, many journalists ask about us, they are reported. What do you think the impact will be on us? Is there anything? Because when I see it it’s not there yet.”

“People see it as a negative issue and they don’t want to know about Ahmadiyah anymore. Yes, we have been like this since the beginning.”


This report was made in collaboration with AJI Indonesia and the ICRC.
Also read related articles or other interesting writings Felix Nathaniel
(tirto.id – Politics )

Reporter: Felix Nathaniel
Writer: Felix Nathaniel
Editor: Rio Apinino

source https://tirto.id/jemaat-ahmadiyah-kami-seperti-mayat-enggak-ada-rasa-lagi-gnPj

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