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    Three Die in Attack on Ahmadiyya Sect in Indonesia


    by NTDTelevision

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    Members of a Muslim religious movement were killed during religious clashes in Indonesia's Banten Province. Mainstream Muslims dispute Ahmadiyya's beliefs and the sect has faced attacks by hardline Muslim groups.

    Three members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim religious movement are dead with five seriously injured in Indonesia. It happened when a mob attacked a house belonging to a member of the sect in Banten Province on Sunday morning.

    [Zafrullah Pontoh, Spokesman, Ahmadiyya Sect]:
    "The attackers came from a location within a one to 10 kilometer radius and from outside the Pandeglang district. Our lawyer thinks the attack was systematically planned."

    Pontoh says when the incident happened, only 20 policemen were sent to the site and they were unable to bring the mob under control.

    [Kurnia, Ahmadiyya Sect Follower]:
    "Two of our cars were burned in the attack. Those people were chasing us, when they caught us, they hit us with knives and machetes."

    Police says residents were bothered by the large gathering of Ahmadiyya members and demanded them to disperse... but the sect members refused, which led to the clashes.

    [Agus Kusnadi, Police Chief, Pandeglang]:
    "When police arrived at the site we tried to prevent the situation from getting worse, but it was tense already. Some Ahmadiyya people ran, but we could not avoid victims."

    In June 2008, the Ahmadiyya sect was banned from spreading their teachings even though they have been in Indonesia since around 1925.

    Although Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim country and its constitution protects freedom of religion, mainstream Muslims reject Ahmadiyya's beliefs.

    Ahmadiyya followers, as well as their property and mosques, have come under attack by hardline Muslim groups.