Disband Ahmadiyah or Else, Hard-Liners Warn

The Jakarta Globe

More than 1,000 Islamic hard-liners gathered at an anti-Ahmadiyah rally in Jakarta on Friday, issuing fresh threats to topple the government if officials did not disband the minority Muslim sect.

The Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), which organized the rally at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle, claimed Ahmadis wanted all other Muslims dead, “so they must be eliminated first.”

The protesters also called President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono a banci , or transvestite, saying he was a coward for not dissolving the sect, which has been deemed deviant by mainstream Muslims for its divergent views on Islamic prophets.

Awid Mashuri, deputy secretary general of the FPI, demanded that the government “stand for us instead of for Ahmadiyah.”

“[The president] should act faster on this,” he said. “If he keeps silent, we’ll assume that he supports the existence of Ahmadiyah in Indonesia, and that’s a humiliation to Islam, so if it happens, we demand [he] resign.”

His call prompted the crowd to shout: “We want an Islamic revolution!”

In Makassar, FPI chairman Habib Riziq in his Friday sermon said he would exhaust all means to dismantle Ahmadiyah.

“In the name of Allah, I swear that until the last drop of my blood, whatever the risks, Ahmadiyah must not exist in Indonesia,” he said.

In Jakarta, protesters marched to the office of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), which they accused of “violating Islam” by calling for the protection of Ahmadis.

Misbakhul Hanan, an FPI member, said a much bigger rally would be held on March 1.

“All Muslims will join us, we’ll stay all night in front of the State Palace until [Yudhoyono] issues the order to disband Ahmadiyah,” he said. “That’s his deadline. If he misses it, the revolution that took place in Egypt will happen in Indonesia too.”

However, the government brushed off the threats, with Home Affairs Minister Gamawan Fauzi saying he had built a rapport with the FPI.

“I feel this brotherly bond with Habib and [FPI spokesman] Munarman,” he said. “I’ve been good acquaintances with Munarman since I was at the LBH [Legal Aid Foundation] with him.”

But Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party did not take the threats lightly, with lawmaker Ramadhan Pohan accusing the FPI of abusing freedom of speech.

He called on the police to respond to the threats seriously and said the FPI was damaging the authority of the state.

Additional reporting by Camelia Pasandaran & Markus Sihaloho

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