FPI threatens to burn down Ahmadiyah mosque in West Java

Many local residents say religious intolerance is hurting the province, and that targeting minorities is no way to defend Islam.

By Aditya Surya for Khabar Southeast Asia in Tangerang, West Java.

October 24, 2013
Reset Text smaller larger

Many Muslims in West Java are expressing disagreement with the latest vigilante action by the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), which sealed and threatened to burn down an Ahmadiyah Mosque in Sumedang, West Java on October 6th.

  • Ahmadiyah cleric Rahmat Rahmadijaya speaks from inside the Al Misbah Mosque in Bekasi on April 9th, after local authorities sealed the facility. The sect has been targeted by the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) as

    Ahmadiyah cleric Rahmat Rahmadijaya speaks from inside the Al Misbah Mosque in Bekasi on April 9th, after local authorities sealed the facility. The sect has been targeted by the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) as "deviant". On October 6th, local FPI sealed the Ahmadiyah Al Mislika Mosque in Sumedang, saying the congregation is proselytizing their beliefs. [Adek Berry/AFP]

The Al Mislika Mosque currently serves a 34-member Ahmadiyah community and has been operating in Sukatali village "for generations," according to the Jakarta Globe, which cited village leaders.

But the Sumedang branch of the FPI accused the congregation of violating a 2008 government decree that allows Ahmadiyah Muslims to practice their religion while imposing stiff penalties if they attempt to spread their ideas.

They claimed the Ahmadiyah had agreed to stop using the mosque, and took matters into their own hands after discovering the facility was still in use, the Globe said.

Observing Idul Adha

Firdaus Mubarik, an Ahmadiyah leader, said the congregation was using the mosque for prayer services, and that no other activities, such as study groups or reciting the Qur'an, had been conducted there.

"We only want to pray, just like others. We feel obligated to come to the mosque and pray, especially when Idul Adha is approaching," Mardiyanto Fakhrie, a 45-year-old Ahmadiyah follower in Sumedang, told Khabar Southeast Asia by phone.

Idul Adha, the Feast of the Sacrifice, is when Muslims commemorate Ibrahim's willingness to submit to God's command.

"I hope the authorities will pay close attention to this case. I do not think we had any misconduct. I hope this is just a short term clash," he added.

Many Muslims in the area expressed their strong disagreement with the FPI actions.

"I do believe that threatening to burn down the Ahmadiyah's mosques is neither God's command nor a message of sacrifice that the Qur'an wants us to understand," an Islamic cleric in Sumedang, Slamet Ahmad, told Khabar.

Susetyo Wibowo, a Bogor resident, said intolerance in West Java can hurt stability in the region, especially with the 2014 election approaching.

"I do not understand why FPI is so eager to shut down all Ahmadiyah mosques. I could not justify whether Ahmadiyah's teaching are wrong or right. However, I am aware of their commitment to humanity, social welfare, and helping the community, including those who are not Ahmadiyah followers. So I think they are practicing Islam in a good way. They have hospitals and schools," he told Khabar.

Universal values

Bonar Tigor Naipospos, deputy chairman of the Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace in Jakarta, said the government must re-evaluate the effectiveness of the 2008 decree, which became the basis for provincial bans on the Ahmadiyah sect in East and West Java in 2011.

"Our authorities must revisit the status of the decree. They must analyze if the decree is working or failing in addressing religious tolerance, especially in West Java," he told Khabar.

In response to the situation, West Java Governor Ahmad Heryawan emphasized that raids should not be conducted. He urged everyone to remain calm until a dialogue can be held to address the issue.

"We can eliminate the emotion and overcome this situation," he told Khabar after a meeting at Braja Mustika Hotel in Bogor on October 10th.

In a similar tone, Slamet said that religious tolerance in West Java needs to improve.

"We need West Java to be secure, so more tourists will come and visit our region. The security in our region can affect our economic growth," he commented.

"More importantly, we need to recognise that Islam has universal values of love, respect, and faith. If we do not believe that Ahmadiyah followers are practicing a good teaching of Islam, we must still show our love, faith, and respect of Islam," he said.

Reader Comments
CLICK HERE to Add a Comment
    • Kevin
      February 12, 2014 @ 01:02:32AM
    • The FPI organization are vigilantes, the country needs to take firm action so that the law breakers known as FPI are punished severely as a deterrent.
    • asrimah
      November 16, 2013 @ 08:11:56AM
    • Many Indonesian Muslims still claim to be the most righteous. There will never be peace if we continue to fight amongst ourselves, deceive each other, bribe and ignore equality of rights.
    • asrimah
      November 16, 2013 @ 08:11:00AM
    • Of course, even true Muslims do not necessarily understand true Islamic teachings. Many are still superstitious heretics. Is that FPI?

Add A Comment (Comments Policy)* denotes required field

 As-Siddeek Islamic Co-operative Limited Financial officer Sulaiman Oromlong (right) with customer Suwanna Laetha (left) and a teller at AIC's main branch in Hat Yai. [Somchai Huasaikul/Khabar]
Thailand: Muslim savings and loans co-ops becoming popular
Service allows for investment while still obeying sharia.
 Boys power their pram in Yakang Canal in a canal boat race, part of Idul Fitri celebrations in Narathiwat. [Rapee Mama/Khabar]
Local traditions enliven Idul Fitri in Narathiwat
In southern Thailand, locals celebrate Idul Fitri with local traditions of duck catching contests and canal races that strengthen community and keep kids from violence.


A caliph is freely chosen by Muslims everywhere for his wisdom and spiritual qualifications. The ISIL leader's proclamation of himself as caliph over all Muslims violates the principles of Islam.

Photo Essay

 Worshippers read from the Qur'an at Jakarta's Istiqlal Grand Mosque on May 4th, as part of

Hardliners threaten tolerance in Indonesia

Indonesia's tradition of moderate, tolerant Islam is under threat by hard-line groups who are imposing their conservative views on others and intimidating religious minorities.