This trend has arisen in response to recent episodes of persecution, though the Ahmadis were not the perpetrators, but the victims. It is striking how quickly Indonesian authorities can move when they care to in order rein in Islamic “heretics.” Of course, such pious zeal is never directed at, say, the rabid thugs (and supposed “misunderstanders of Islam”) of the Islamic Defender Front, or the mob that ransacked Christian buildings and assaulted a priest last month.
One can only expect this measure will be spun as a move to “protect” the Ahmadis — by making official exactly how few rights they actually have. Still, however, the ban on the public practice of a religion is a deliberately vague proposition designed to intimidate, because simply going about one’s business while identifying oneself as a non-Muslim is to make a non-Islamic faith visible… and therefore, to become a target.
Jakarta, 3 March (AKI/Jakarta Post) – Following in the footsteps of East and West Java, Indonesia’s South Sulawesi provincial governor Syahrul Yasin Limpo on Thursday issued a ban on the Ahmadiyah sect from practicing their religion publicly.
Syahrul said that the sect was neither registered as a mass organization nor a religious organization in the administration.
“For that reason, I don’t think it should be a problem should the administration prohibit its activities here. We also won’t give them a permit to [to practice their religion publicly],” said Syahrul as on Thursday.
The Ahmadiyah followers in Indonesia have been experiencing a series of prosecutions [sic] in the country. In February a mob of more than 1,500 people attacked an Ahmadi congregation.
Ahmadiyah is an offshoot of Islam founded in India during the late 19th century.
He said he had issued a circular to ban all activities of the Ahmadiyah Indonesia Congregation (JAI) in the province, referring to a joint ministerial decree from the government that bans members of JAI from propagating their religious teachings, but allows them to maintain their faith and perform their daily religious duties.
Earlier on Thursday, West Java Governor Ahmad Heriyawan also issued a similar decree, telling Ahmadis to stop performing their activities in the province.