02/07/2011, 00.00
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Java, 1500 Muslim extremists attack an Ahmadi family: three dead, cars and houses in flames

by Mathias Hariyadi
Moderate Muslims and members of civil society condemn sectarian violence. Controversy around President Yudhoyono and the executive, unable to ensure security and protection of minorities. Muslim scholar: strike those who "use violence and manipulate Islam for political ends."

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Members of civil society, religious leaders and personalities from the moderate Islamic world strongly condemn the attack that took place yesterday against the Ahmadi community in Indonesia, which has caused death and devastation. The controversy has also embroiled President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and the executive, unable to guarantee the safety of all citizens and freedom of worship in the country. The head of state warned that the violence against minorities "in the name of religion" must be stopped, despite his appeal, there is increasing lack of confidence in his abilities.

The latest in a long streak of blood against the Ahmadi community - a victim of violence in other Muslim-majority nations such as Pakistan - took place yesterday morning. A crowd of at least 1500 Muslim extremists attacked the house of a family in the village of Umbulan, in the Cikeusik sub-district, Pandeglang regency (Banten province on the island of Java), torturing the occupants. The toll of the assault is three dead, several injured people, two cars and a house burned.

The episode has raised controversy and fuelled the political confrontation that, in recent weeks, has involved the Indonesian president, unable to guarantee security and the right to religious freedom. Daniel Sparingga, a spokesman for Yudhoyono, revealed that an order has been issued by the President to the Chief of Police, calling for an end to violence. "Enough is enough - said the head of state - violence and attacks against any minority, made in the name of religion, must be stopped."

However, members of civil society and moderate Muslim leaders - condemning the attack - have denounced the lack of interest shown to date by Yudhoyono, unable to curb sectarian violence. Ulul Huda, a Muslim scholar from Central Java, confirmed to AsiaNews, "the inertia of the government," adding that "the Ahmadis in the past have contributed to the struggle for independence in Indonesia. Speaking of the attackers, the scholar labels them "extremists" who "use violence and manipulate Islam for political ends."

The Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the leading moderate Muslim organization in the country has also condemned the attack on the Ahmadiyya community, along with Setara and the Wahid Institute. Professor Azyumardi Azra, from the State Islamic University in South Jakarta , explains to AsiaNews that "violence in the name of religion against certain groups, including the Ahmadis or any other, can not and should not be tolerated."

The Ahmadi sect is considered heretical because it does not recognize Muhammad as the last prophet. It is the victim of attacks in Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and many other countries where Islam is the most prevalent religion. According to preliminary reports, the mob’s anger was unleashed by rumours of an alleged "invasion" of the village of Umbulan by dozens of Ahmadi. In fact, some non-native Ahmadis came to the village to solve a problem related to residence permits. A Filipino woman, the wife of an Ahmadi faithful has started procedures to regularize the situation with the immigration office.

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