The jakarta Globe, July 13, 2012
An angry mob attacked members of Bogor’s Ahmadiyah community on Friday as a team of Dutch journalists tried to shoot a documentary on the beleaguered community.
Four journalists from the Dutch daily newspaper de Volkskrant arrived in Bogor’s Cisalada village late Friday morning to interview members of the local Ahmadiyah community. But once local residents learned of the journalists’ presence, the situation turned violent, police said.
“When one of them went to the neighboring Kebon Kopi village to interview people, the residents refused and attacked the homes of the Ahmadiyah,” said Bogor Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Hery Santoso.
Dozens of people surrounded Cisalada village and hurled stones at the homes of Ahmadis. The stoning turned into a brawl once the Ahmadis started to fight back, Hery said.
Three members of the Ahmadiyah community — Budi, Aji and Zaenudin — were all injured in the attack. Endang, who isn’t a member of the community, suffered a broken leg. Six homes were damaged.
The mob dispersed after the attack, Hery said. But they later returned with knives and machetes.
Police and the Indonesian military (TNI) held the angry mob at bay, Hery said.
They also questioned the journalists to see if they had the proper permits to report in the area, Hery said.
The Ahmadiyah community have long been victims of violence in Indonesia — where mainstream Muslims view the sect as a “deviant” form of Islam.
Indonesia recognizes five religions. The Ahmadis version of Islam is not one of them.
On Oct. 1, 2010, the 600 member community was attacked by a mob that looted and torched their homes, schools and mosque.
Several of the attackers were appeared before a judge and given suspended sentences. But an Ahmadi man who stabbed one of the attackers in self defense as sentenced to nine months in prison.
Human rights groups called on the government to protect the nation’s Ahmadis from persecution.
Rumadi, program coordinator at the Wahid Institute, said that the attack, which came a week before the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, was “cause of both concern and deep shame.”
“This attack, no matter the reason, is against the law,” he said in a statement. “This must never be allowed.”
The activist called on police to protect the Ahmadiyah from continued violence, adding that attacks like this only lend credence to criticisms levied against Indonesia at a recent United Nations human rights forum. Critics say Indonesia’s government has failed to protect religious minorities.
At the UN’s the British delegation noted “an increase in hostility and attacks against religious minority communities” in the UN’s Universal Periodic Review in May.
Katrina Swett, chairwoman of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, urged Washington to talk about the issue with Jakarta.
“The United States should specifically confront governments which target the Ahmadiyah,” she said.