CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 22 September 2018

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Mosque closure criticised by Church in Indonesia

Jakarta (UCAN): The forced closure of a mosque belonging to the Ahmadiyya Muslim community in the Sukabumi district of West Java in Indonesia on July 26, has drawn criticism from the secretary of the Commission for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the Indonesian Bishops’ Conference,

Father Agustinus Ulahayanan, alluding to Indonesia’s constitution, said that the closure of the 41-year-old Al-Furqan mosque violates the Ahmadi right to worship. Around 200 members of the community were compelled gather at a nearby school.

It “shows a crisis in the values of tolerance and plurality,” he said.

The Ahmadiyya branch of Islam believes that Mohammed is the final prophet and, consequently, the spiritual experience of revelation has come to an end.

As this view strikes at the very root of the purpose of the institution of prophethood, mainstream Islam regards the group as heretical, resulting in various forms of persecution in the Muslim world.  

Father Ulahayanan said that the number of hardliners in the country is actually small, but “the problem is that tolerant people, (who) form the majority group, (choose) to be silent.” 

Dadang Eka Widianto, a Public Order Agency official, said the mosque was closed in the interests of safety.

Hanif, a mosque official, said the closure was sudden and came without any notification adding that the community agreed not to fight against it because “we wanted to prevent any possible conflicts.”

He admitted the mosque didn’t have a building permit, but noted, “We have tried to obtain one. But perhaps there’s a resistance from people who don’t understand what Ahmadiyya is about.”

 

According to the news outlet antaranews.com, Widianto cited local opposition to the mosque as the reason for the closure saying it was “to prevent any potential conflicts in society.” 

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