Ivany Atina Arbi, Jakarta – Rights group Amnesty International Indonesia has urged the Tasikmalaya administration in West Java to revoke its latest decree preventing a congregation of the minority Muslim group Ahmadiyah from holding prayers and renovating their mosque on the grounds that the policy is discriminatory and counter to basic human rights.
"The decision to block the community from using their mosque was made on discriminatory grounds and without any consultation. It's just the last example of the authorities in Indonesia targeting Ahmadis purely for their religious beliefs," Amnesty International Indonesia executive director Usman Hamid said in a statement on Tuesday.
"This local decree should be withdrawn immediately and the community allowed to worship in their mosque as they please."
Local authorities in the regency, including Tasikmalaya regent Ade Sugianto, signed the joint decree on Jan. 27. The representatives of the local Ahmadiyah group had only received the copy of the decree last Saturday.
Usman criticized the authorities' argument that the ban aimed to prevent unrest. He stressed that it was the local administration's responsibility to keep everyone, including the Ahmadis, safe in practicing their beliefs.
"The authorities must stop this culture of discrimination and encourage all people to practice their faith freely," he added.
Ahmadiyah congregation chairman Nanang Ahmad Hidayat previously said that the decree consisted of nine key provisions, including one prohibiting members of the group from performing religious activities in public and one banning the renovation of Al-Aqso mosque, located in Cipakat village, Singaparna district, Tasikmalaya.
Ahmadiyah groups have long been targets of discrimination and persecution in the country with some local administrations sealing mosques and banning members from performing religious activities over protests from intolerant groups.