Indonesian hardliners rally to disband Muslim sect
Fri, Feb 18, 2011

JAKARTA - Hundreds of hardline Islamists rallied in the Indonesian capital on Friday to demand President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono disband a minority Muslim sect or resign.

The white-clad members of the Islamic Defenders Front, with their children in tow, carried banners calling for Yudhoyono's resignation unless the Ahmadiyah sect is outlawed.

The Front is a vigilante group that has links to the police and uses violence to enforce its hardline values on the mainly Muslim country of 240 million people."

"Ahmadiyah is not part of Islam, it's blasphemous to Islam. Their prophet, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, is a false prophet from India," Front Jakarta branch chairman Salim Alatas told AFP.

The rally comes almost two weeks after Islamist fanatics brutally murdered three Ahmadiyah adherents in west Java's Banten province, the most horrific in a long line of attacks on the sect in Indonesia in recent years.

After the attack, a video of which was posted online, Yudhoyono called for violent extremist groups to be banned and urged Indonesians to show tolerance and moderation in their religious beliefs.

Police did nothing to stop the February 6 attack on the Ahmadiyah by some 1,500 armed extremists, and say they have no evidence the murders were the work of an organised group.

Nine people have been arrested over the incident, including an Ahmadiyah man who was set upon and badly injured by the mob.

A 2008 decree restricts the sect's religious freedoms but stops short of banning it outright. Even so, senior government officials say the Ahmadiyah should accept mainstream Sunni Islam or renounce their faith.

The sect claims 500,000 followers in Indonesia, where it has existed since the 1920s. It believes that its Indian-born founder was the final prophet of Islam, not Mohammed.

Scores of police stood watch as the radicals occupied Jakarta's central traffic circle after Friday prayers, but there were no arrests or violence.

Human rights organisations have urged Yudhoyono to do more to fight rising intolerance in the world's most populous Muslim-majority country.

  Indonesian hardliners rally to disband Muslim sect
  Things women do to get married
  Taiwan festivals play new role as tourism booster
  Japan opposition nixes deal for PM to quit
  S. Korea says more N. Korea attacks possible
  Taiwan ex-leader's wife reports to prison hospital
  Vietnam vows safety crackdown after boat deaths
  Philippine quake frightens resort city
  China faces critical pediatrician shortage
  New Zealanders' 'rear view cam' an Internet hit
Indonesia sending apes to 'killing field': NGO
129 Myanmar migrants found off Indonesia: police
Indonesian mobile phone penetration triples in five years thanks to younger users, cheaper rates
Indonesian clerics soften tone to Valentine's Day
Man behind Ahmadiyah attack arrested

Elsewhere in AsiaOne...

Health: Hermaphrodite child reported in Bandung

Motoring: International Motor Show gets 70,000 visitors in three days

Business: Pertamina plans S$1.3 bil acquisitions in 2011