Trial opens over Ahmadiyah Muslim sect killings

Al Jazeera English

by Al Jazeera English

  • About
  • Export
  • Add to
Indonesia has long been proud of its diverse ethnicity, cultures and spiritual beliefs. However, recent attacks on minority groups like the Ahmadiyah sect and on Christian churches have critics claiming that religious tolerance is on the decline.

Twelve people in Indonesia are set to face trial on Tuesday, accused of killing three Ahmadiyah followers in West Java, in February.

The savage nature of the murders, captured on tape, shocked the nation.

Rights groups hope the trial will help reduce attacks on religious minorities.

The Ahmadiyah sect, which claims 500,000 followers in Indonesia, believes that its founder Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was the final prophet and not Mohammad, contradicting a central tenet of mainstream Islam.

In 2008, the Indonesian government issued a joint ministerial decree that bans the Ahmadiyah from practising their faith in public or spreading the belief.

Al Jazeera's Step Vaessen reports from the scene of the killings, where the locals say a lack of leadership on the issue offers tacit approval to Islamic hardliners that is fuelling a growing intolerance particularly of religious minorities.