05/06/2013, 00.00
INDONESIA
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West Java: hundreds of extremists attack Ahmadi homes and a mosque

by Mathias Hariyadi
Yesterday at dawn, a mob wielding sticks, stones and other makeshift weapons attacked the Muslim minority. Police and army are now patrolling the area for fear of further violence. Ahmadis had just concluded a prayer meeting, reading passages from the Qur'an. Sectarian tensions remain high in the province.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Hundreds of people armed with sticks, stones and other makeshift weapons attacked a mosque and a group of houses belonging to the Ahmadi minority, causing serious damage to buildings. The raid occurred early Sunday morning in Tenjowaringing, Salawu Sub-District, Tasikmalaysa Regency, in the Indonesian province of West Java, confirming once more that the area is still one of the most violent and intolerant parts of the country, as evidenced by research conducted last year.

The blitz against the Muslim minority, deemed heretical for not recognising Muhammad as the last prophet and thus often the victim of persecution and abuse by orthodox Sunnis, occurred in the village of Tenjowaringing, about 80 km from the provincial capital of Bandung, at the end of a prayer meeting organised by the local Ahmadi community that included readings from the Qur'an.

Before the attack, unidentified groups of people had issued threats and warnings against Ahmadis, telling them not to conduct their activity. When that was not heeded, a mob of hundreds of people launched an attack yesterday at dawn, when religious services were already over, against the Ahmadi mosque and private homes.

Early reports indicate that no one was injured, but tensions remain high. To prevent further incidents, local authorities have deployed army and police.

The presence of the religious minority has been the source of controversy in Indonesia for quite some time.

The climate of hostility in the world's most populous Muslim nation has worsened after some of the country's most important Islamic groups, including the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and the National Council of Ulema (MUI), accused the Ahmadis of not respecting the original and pure version of the faith.

The Ministry of Religious Affairs added fuel to the fire when it called on the Ahmadi minority to stop its religious services and practices because they were contrary to the doctrine.

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