Indonesia Urged To End Ban On Religious Sect

Zainai Abdin, research director of the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation(YBHL) deanded that the government dissolve the Coordianting Board for Monitoring Mystical Beliefs in Society because it violates the Indonesian constitution which grants religious freedom to its people. “The board is one of the New Order regime’s products and its tends to limit the citizens’ freedom in today’s context. The government should not interfere in citizens’ political and social issues. People have their rights and fredom to carry out religious activities.” The Board had banned the Ahmadiyah sect because its religion because it believes there was another prophet after Muhammad.

There has been widespread physical attacks upon members of the sect and thousands hve been forced to flee to escape mobs. In Bandung, about 25 organizations staged a rally to support the right of sect members to have their own religious beliefs without being forced to accept dictates from a government body. Several speakers said school teachers were telling children the Ahmadiyh sect members are infidels which has resulted in pressure being imposed on children who belong to the sect.

Indonesia has the reputation of being among the most tolerant Muslim nations in allowing freedom of religion. The presence of a 200,000 member sect with differing views of religion in a nation of 120,000,000 people is surely no cause for alarm.

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