06/09/2008, 00.00
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Thousands of Muslims take to the streets against “heretical” Ahmadiyah

Security fears grip Jakarta, where radical Islamic groups have returned to the streets calling for the disbandment and outlawing of the tiny community, following last week’s clashes between moderate and extremist Muslims over the issue of religious freedom for the Ahmadiyah.

Jakarta (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Thousands of Muslims demonstrated today outside the Presidential Palace, Central Jakarta, calling for the disbandment and outlaw of the contested Ahmadiyah in Indonesia. The fate of this tiny community (500 thousand followers) has been hotly contested for years.  June first last the debate culminated in clashes between extremists from the Islamic Brotherhood Forum (FPI) and moderates from the National Alliance for Religious Freedom (Akkbb). Violence over the past few days has left 30 injured.  Ahmadiyah profess themselves to be Muslim, but radical Islam considers them “heretics”.

Chief among the organisers of today’s protests is the fundamentalist group Hizbut Tahir Indonesia (Hti). They have been joined by members of the Ahli Sunnah wal Jamaah Muslim Alliance (Asuaja), and the Betawi Brotherhood Forum (Fbr) as well as other Islamic groups. A delegation has attempted to meet with the head of state, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

The president of the Fbr, Fadholi el Muhir, has threatened to forcibly break up the “sect”.  “We ask them (Ahmadiyah supporters) to repent immediately”, threatened Muhir, adding that if the sect does not want to disband, then it should set up a new religion, separate to Islam.


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