Man Testifies He Joined Ahmadiyah Attack Last Year ‘to Be in The Group’
Bogor. A villager told a court in West Java on Wednesday that he only joined a mob that attacked an Ahmadiyah Community in Bogor last October because he wanted to be part of the crowd.
Imam Tamawi told the Cibinong District Court that he had no idea why the mob burned down an Ahmadiyah mosque, schools and homes in the village of Cisalada.
The resident of Pasar Salasa village in Ciampea was testifying at the trial of the three men accused of inciting violence and destroying property in Cisalada, home to about 600 members of the besieged Islamic sect.
The defendants are Dede Novi, 18, Aldi Afriansyah, 23, and Akbar Ramanda, 17.
“I actually had no idea what they were going to do that night, but I just wanted to join them because they were so many of them and they were all walking togethe and heading somewhere,” Imam said. “I joined and ended up in Cisalada.
“I also started to throw the stinesm even though I actually had no idea why they were attacking the [Ahamadiyah] mosque in Cisalada. I felt I was part of the group.”
In response to a question by prosecutor Aji Sukartaji, Imam said that while he was pleating stone at the mosque, someone in the mob throw a molotov cocktail, but he didn’t see who was responsible.
“I could tell it was a Moloto cocktail from the sound it made. But I am not sure who threw it because it came from out of the crowd in front of me.” he said.
Matsuki, an officer from the Public Order Agency (Satpol PP), provided Wednesday’s hearing court with an account of what happened prior of the attack.
A resident of a neighboring Kebun Kopi village, Matsuki, told the court that a group of 30 men had arrived at his home and asked if the Public Order Officers planned to tear down the Ahmadiyah Mosque in Cisalada, which they claimed was in violation of the law.
Matsuki said the men left his home upset because he could not provide them with the answer they wanted to hear.
“They were disappointed with me. I told them that I had no authority to really say anything.” he told the court.
“They came to ask about the administration’s plan to tear down the Ahmadiyah mosque” he said.
“I am only an Satpol PP officer and I was in no position to give them a definite answer. Tearing down or sealing off a building requires an officer order.”
Matsuki told the court that after the men left his house, they headed west toward Cisalada.
“I had no idea that they would attack Cisalada after they came to see me,” he said.
“I was actually surprised that they wanted to talk to me. To my understanding, they had already had a meeting with officials from the local administration to discuss the matter of the Ahmadiyah mosque. I don’t know what they came out of that meeting. “
The court heard another witness, Dede Suryana, who told the hearing that he had seen and could identify two of accused attempting to burn down the mosque.
“Dede Novi was trying to burn some of the books in the mosque, including the Koran using matches, and Rama [Akbar Ramanda] was trying to destroy the roof of the mosque,” Suryana told the court.
During the hearing, the protesters outside the courthouse could be heard shouting anti-AHmadiyah slogans, including “Destroy Ahmadiyah, destroy Ahmadiyah, they are not Islam!”
Following the hearing, supporters of the defendants headed for Cisalada and appeared to be prepared to attack. Police in the village, however, were able to prevent any violence and detained five people.