Konradus Epa, Jakarta
Updated: September 07, 2021 06:11 AM GMT
This screenshot shows a mob attacking Miftahul Huda Mosque in Balai Harapan in Indonesia's West Kalimantan province on Sept. 3. (Photo supplied)
Police have arrested 10 people suspected of attacking an Ahmadi mosque and burning a nearby building belonging to the sect in Indonesia’s West Kalimantan province.
They are accused of being among a large mob that attacked the mosque in Balai Harapan in Sintang district on Sept. 3.
Most were arrested in raids on their homes on Sept. 5-6, police said. A few others turned themselves in, while a search is ongoing for other suspected attackers.
"Nine of those arrested have been charged in connection with the attack,” West Kalimantan provincial spokesman Donny Go told reporters.He said they were among at least 200 local Muslims who attacked Miftahul Huda Mosque after Friday prayers, forcing police and soldiers to evacuate 72 Ahmadiyah followers.
Nobody was hurt during the incident.
We have been receiving threats and faced acts of intimidation since early last month
Indonesian Ahmadiyya Followers (JAI) spokesman Yendra Budiana said the attack on its members happened after the Sintang district government issued a letter on Aug. 27 banning all activities at the mosque including worship.
"The local government urged kami to close permanently Miftahul Huda Mosque and banned worship," Budiana told UCA News.After Islamic prayers, he said, the mob went to the mosque and tried to burn it but they were prevented by police so pelted it with rocks.
"We have been receiving threats and faced acts of intimidation since early last month," he said, adding that the Ahmadi community has been in Sintang since 2004 and the mosque was built in 2007.
Ahmadi Muslims are often targeted by other Muslims in Indonesia as they are considered blasphemous for believing that Muhammad was not the last prophet.
Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Quemas condemned the attack and called for the perpetrators' prosecution.
“This sort of behavior destroying a place of worship place and property cannot be justified and is a threat to interreligious harmony,” Quemas said.
The Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace accused local authorities of failing to protect its citizens.
"Violent actions in any name are an outrage and destroy diversity, so the state must not allow it," Bonar Tigor Naipospos, the rights group’s deputy director, told UCA News.
By failing to protect its citizens in Sintang, local authorities “violated their constitutional rights to worship freely and insulted their dignity.”
“Local authorities are bound by the constitution to protect its people regardless of their background, including Ahmadiyah,” Father Antonius Benny Susetyo, a member of a presidential unit promoting communal tolerance, told UCA News.