Freedom House Condemns Attack on Ahmadiyya in Indonesia

Washington

Freedom House strongly condemns Sunday’s fatal attack on members of the Ahmadiyyah community in Indonesia and calls upon the Indonesian government to take increased measures to protect the Ahmadiyyah and other religious minorities across the country.
 
In a brutal attack that left 3 dead and at least 5 severely injured, a mob of nearly1,500 members of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) wielded machetes, sticks, and rocks against an Ahmadiyyah congregation in the province of Banten, West Java on Sunday. Video recordings of the incident, which were uploaded to YouTube and subsequently retracted, show dozens of people beating and stoning almost nude corpses.  Local police were reportedly warned of the strong possibility of such an incident three days before, but failed to provide adequate protection. 
 
“Failure by authorities, very often local police, to adequately investigate and respond to violence against religious minorities in Indonesia has resulted in a high level of impunity for these types of crimes,” said Paula Schriefer, director of advocacy at Freedom House. “The Indonesian government must send a clear message that such hate crimes will not be tolerated.”
 
This incident follows a disturbing trend in Indonesia in which religious minorities, particularly the Ahmadiyyah, face increasing intimidation and violence.  Indonesian law enforcement has failed to provide adequate protection for vicitims or punish those responsible. Meanwhile, problematic legislation like the country’s blasphemy law encourages extremism and violence. The Setara Institute for Peace and Democracy, a Jakarta-based group working on religious freedom, recorded 50 cases of attacks in 2010 against the Ahmadiyyah community.  Additionally, a 2008 national decree calling on the Ahmadiyyah to stop practicing their faith creates an environment that is conducive to this type of violence, and is in clear violation of International Religious Freedom standards.
 
"This horrific incident is just another in a series of attacks against the Ahmadiyyah community and will not be the last,” said Sue Gunawardena- Vaughn, senior program manager for Southeast Asia and Religious Freedom. “If Indonesia continues to retain its blasphemy law, it will continue to provide justification for groups that are intent on promoting intolerance and violence against religious minorities.”
 
Indonesia is ranked Free in Freedom in the World 2011, Freedom House's survey of political rights and civil liberties, and Partly Free in Freedom of the Press 2010.
 
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.  
 
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Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

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