Responding to the destruction of the houses and forced removal of members of religious minority group Ahmadiyya from their homes and neighbourhood in East Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara on Sunday, Amnesty International Indonesia executive director Usman Hamid said:
“Members of Ahmadiyya community in Gereneng in East Lombok have been facing two days of violence and terror, on Saturday and Sunday during the fasting month of Ramadhan, from vigilante groups that destroyed their houses, forcing around 24 of them to leave their neighbourhood and to be evacuated to a nearby police station for their safety. This brutal act is a clear abuse of the human right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion as it was in all likelihood motivated by hatred against the Ahmadiyya community due to their belief.”
“Authorities must ensure that all such attacks are stopped, that the incident is investigated thoroughly and perpetrators are brought to justice. The authorities must ensure that any damage to property is repaired or compensated for, and that members of the Ahmadiyya community are allowed back to their homes and neighbourhood as soon as repairs are completed. Police must guarantee the safety of members of the Ahmadiyya community much more efficiently from now on. The authorities must clarify beyond any doubt that no further attacks will be tolerated.”
“The recurring attacks on Ahmadiyya community by vigilante mobs in the region during the past decade are encouraged by the police’ reluctant to stop and investigate perpetrators of past attacks, making attackers feel that they are above the law. Moreover, such acts are no doubt encouraged by discriminatory legislation as well as repressive measures taken against the Ahmadiyya by the authorities themselves, such as the closure of mosques. This discrimination and impunity must stop. The authorities must protect Ahmadiyya members’ right to freely and safely manifest their religious beliefs. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion in Indonesia, a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which protects this right at all times.”
In Indonesia, the human right of the Ahmadiyya to hold and manifest their religious beliefs is not recognised by law, which considers their beliefs to be “deviant,” in clear violation of international law.
On Saturday 11 am, According to the Indonesian Ahmadiyah Congregation (JAI), seven families comprising 24 people were forcibly evacuated to a nearby police station after mobs from Sakra Timur sub-district came to their neighbourhood and attacked and destroyed six houses belonging to Ahmadiyya members. Vigilantes also destroyed electronic devices and households utensils and 4 motorbikes in several locations. The police were at the location of the incident when the mobs attacked and destroyed the houses of Ahmadiyya members, according to JAI. The attack was clearly motivated by the groups’ hatred against Ahmadiyya.
Meanwhile on Sunday at 6.30 am, mobs continued their rampage by attacking and destroying another house in the same neighbourhood. The JAI said that the mobs were trying to expel Ahmadiyya from East Lombok.
As of Sunday afternoon, the 24 people, including children and women, are still being housed at East Lombok police station. The police have limited access for the representatives of JAI who were trying to visit them at the police station.
Sunday’s incident adds to the long list of attacks against the Ahmadiyya community across Indonesia. East Lombok has been hostile to Ahmadiyya community. This is not the first attack against the minority group in the province. In 2006, mobs similarly attacked Ahmadiyya community in the region and forced around 90 people including women and children, to live in temporary housings in Mataram, Lombok, for years.