A police officer tries to stop angry people attacking sect members
Indonesian human rights activists have condemned a brutal attack on members of a minority Muslim sect in Banten province.
Three Ahmadiyah sect members were beaten and stoned to death and at least five others injured when over 1,000 orthodox Muslims attacked about 20 worshippers at a house in Umbulan village in Pandeglang district.
Police at the scene reportedly stood by and did nothing while the attack took place.
“This is a truly shocking incident,” Ifdhal Kasim, chairman of the National Commission of Human Rights
, said yesterday.
The commission also issued a statement demanding President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono instruct all security personnel to guarantee the safety of religious minority groups and to see the incident is investigated thoroughly.
A similar demand was also sent to Minister of Religious Affairs to ensure freedom of worship for Ahmadiyah members.
Kasim appealed to religious and political leaders to promote harmony and prevent further conflicts from occurring.
He also called on Indonesians show restraint and not to commit any violent acts.
Yunianti Chuzaifah, chairwoman of the National Commission on Violence Against Women
, also condemned the attack.
“We condemn every attack and intimidation against minority groups,” she said, adding there were 342 recorded attacks on Ahmadiyah sect followers in the past three years.
Public research is needed in order to understand other religions and faiths objectively so that society will tolerate them, she said.
Attacks on Ahmadiyah followers in Indonesia started after the Indonesian Islamic Scholars Council (MUI)
issued a religious edict in 2005, declaring the sect heretics.
The sect was founded by Mirza Ghulam in the late 1800s in what is now the Punjab area of India and Pakistan. The faith includes the belief that Ghulam was the final Muslim prophet.
Orthodox Muslims believe Mohammed was Islam’s last prophet.
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