Bogor. Members of the beleaguered Ahmadiyah sect came under attack again on Friday when a mob vandalized four of their homes, prompting warnings by rights groups that the persecution of the group was worsening.
The attack on the houses in Ciaruteun Udik village, Cibungbulang subdistrict, took place after Friday noon prayers.
Bogor Police Chief Sr. Comr. Dadang Rahardjo said the incident occurred when a group of seven Ahmadis, two of them women, were conducting noon prayers at the home of an Ahmadi elder, Dayat.
He said other residents grew suspicious of the activity and, soon after noon prayers at the mosque, began gathering outside the house and hurling rocks at it.
“There were about 50 to 75 people, presumably locals,” Dadang said. “They destroyed parts of the roofs and windows of four houses.” He added no one was injured in the incident and police deployed 160 personnel to restore order. However, no arrests were made.
Dadang refused to call the incident an attack, insisting it was merely a case of “rock throwing.”
“There was no attack, it was just some villagers throwing stones at the houses of Ahmadiyah followers,” he said. “Not so many Ahmadis lived there, maybe around 10 people,” he added.
However, Firdaus Mubarik, an Ahmadiyah activist, said he had received a report that the local mosque had issued a call for residents to “damage the Ahmadis.”
“And it wasn’t limited to throwing rocks at the houses,” he said. “Some people reported they were chased by the attackers.”
Firdaus said the Ahmadiyah mosque in Ciaruteun Udik had previously been destroyed by locals in 2005, forcing the members of the minority Islamic sect to worship at home. “The houses of Ahmadis that are located near the main road are also often pelted with rocks,” he said.
Ciaruteun Udik is located two kilometers from Cisalada village in Ciampea subdistrict, where the homes and mosque of a community of 600 Ahmadis were attacked last October.
Ismail Hasani, a researcher from the Setara Institute for Peace and Democracy, said it was regrettable the police had refused to recognize the attack as yet another incident of persecution against Ahmadiyah.
“Rock throwing is an attack and should not be ignored,” he said. “During the Cisalada incident, the police also called it a clash.” He said the Ciaruteun Udik incident was a consequence of the anti-Ahmadiyah bylaws implemented in West Java.
“We fear this is going to get worse,” he said.
Nurkholis Hidayat, executive director of the Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH), also lambasted the attack.
“People will interpret such bylaws as a prohibition of any Ahmadiyah activity,” he said.
“This is an invitation to attack the Ahmadis, whatever they do.”
Last week an unidentified group of people exhumed the body of an Ahmadi in Bandung and left it abandoned in the graveyard shortly after his burial.
West Java Governor Ahmad Heryawan this month announced he had issued a decree banning the activities of the sect in the province, following a similar move by the authorities in East Java to ban Ahmadiyah from openly displaying its attributes or spreading its faith.