Ahmadiyah Pressured Into Apologizing for Bogor Violence, Leaders Say
Vento Saudale & Ulma Haryanto
Ahmadiyah community members say they have been forced to apologize, while foreign journalists deny having incited violence against the sect’s followers in Bogor’s Cisalada village on Friday.
According to Bogor Police, Ahmadiyah followers and local residents agreed to end the incident peacefully after leaders of Ahmadiyah apologized for the violence.
“We apologize for our negligence. We never wanted to cause any conflict, and we never invited the journalists,” said Humaedi, one of the local Ahmadiyah leaders.
However, Mubarik Ahmad, another Ahmadiyah leader in Cisalada, expressed concern about whether the statement that he wrote and signed on Saturday could further endanger his people.
“I have no experience in writing such things. The district police chief and military commander told me what I had to write, that it was my fault for not reporting the foreign journalists to the subdistrict head,” Mubarik said on Sunday.
He also said he was not allowed to consult with anyone because the officials claimed they were “short on time.”
“Based on their instructions I also wrote that we will never allow reporters to enter the village without permission from the subdistrict head,” Mubarik added.
An angry mob attacked members of the Ahmadiyah community on Friday as a team of Dutch journalists tried to shoot a documentary on the beleaguered community.
Journalists from the Dutch daily newspaper De Volkskrant arrived in Cisalada late on Friday morning to interview members of the local Ahmadiyah community. But once local residents learned of the journalists’ presence, the situation turned violent, police said.
The four foreigners were subsequently interrogated by the police for hours before being released on Saturday.
Michel Maas, one of the journalists, said the police were not telling the truth.
“We have not interviewed anyone outside the [Cisalada] village,” Maas told the Jakarta Globe on Sunday.
He was referring to a statement made by Bogor Police Chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Hery Santoso on Friday, claiming that the mob was incited by journalists interviewing people in neighboring Kebon Kopi village.
Maas, an Indonesia correspondent for Dutch TV Station NOS and De Volkskrant who has covered the archipelago for 11 years, is fluent in Indonesian. However, he could not grasp what the mob was shouting about as he was quite far away from the village’s entrance.
“We saw people running, and then the police officer who was with us ordered to get into the car and said that we had to go,” Maas continued.
He also said that the two other people who went with him were not journalists but Dutch tourists.