Twenty Ahmadis Convert to Sunni Islam in West Java

This picture taken on April 9, 2013 shows the minaret of the Ahadmiyah Al Misbah mosque in Bekasi. Twenty Ahmadis converted to Sunnism in West Java on Monday in a public ceremony. (AFP Photo/Adek Berry)

This picture taken on April 9, 2013 shows the minaret of the Ahadmiyah Al Misbah mosque in Bekasi. Twenty Ahmadis converted to Sunnism in West Java on Monday in a public ceremony. (AFP Photo/Adek Berry)

About 20 members of the beleaguered Ahmadiyah sect in Tasikmalaya, West Java, supposedly embraced Sunni Islam on Monday and declared their devotion to Indonesia’s most popular religious sect during a ceremony at a mosque.

“They pledged allegiance to their [new] faith three times. [The event] was witnessed by the Minister of Religious Affairs and the Tasikmalaya district head,” Nurul Mubin, the head of the Islamic Defender’s Front (FPI) in Tasikmalaya, said on Monday, as quoted by Detik.com.

In addition, the Ahmadis were required to recite the syahadat — an affirmation that there is only one god and that Muhammad was his last prophet.

Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali said that he was so proud that he “began to cry when they recited the syahadat.”

The minister also promised to provide school scholarships for the children of the newly-converted Ahmadis.

Meanwhile, Nurul claimed that prior to these new converts, a total of 728 Indonesian Ahmadis have accepted mainstream Sunni Islam.

“This is not a new development,” Firdaus Mubarik, a spokesman for the Indonesian Ahmadiyah Congregation (JAI), said. “It’s normal that the government would bring up the issue of Ahmadiyah conversions after recent attacks on Ahmadiyah mosques.”

He was skeptical of the validity of the supposed conversions, and in his view, there were two possible scenarios that could have unfolded.

One possibility is that these Ahmadis were forced to convert to Sunnism on threat of being expelled from their villages with their families, as what happened in Cianjur, West Java, in March 2012.

“The second possibility is that they’re actually the same people who claimed to embrace [Sunni] Islam several months or even years ago. Journalists should seek out the data and find out if they have truly converted,” he said.

Firdaus went on to recommend that the government make available the list of Ahmadis who supposedly converted to Sunni Islam.

According to Firdaus, there are more than 10,000 Ahmadis living in Tasikmalaya.

Furthermore, he did not understand why people think that the Ahmadiyah need to declare their faith by reciting the syahadat, as Ahmadis also utilize the same affirmation.

The Ahmadiyah community has faced years of discrimination in Indonesia, where the sect’s branch of Islam has been named “deviant” by the FPI.

Last month, 30 Ahmadiyah members were sealed in the Al-Misbah mosque when the Bekasi government shuttered the building.

Religious intolerance is on the rise in Indonesia, where minorities find themselves targeted by members of an increasingly vocal hard-line fringe. In few places is intolerance more routine than West Java.

  • human2

    Suryadharma Ali, you should be ashamed of yourself. “I was so touched I cried” Disgusting!!! You forced people to convert from their own religion and you see beauty? I see hate and intolerance… and on the cycle goes….another sad day in Indonesia.

  • Catweazle

    Sounds more like forced subjugation than a conversion by freewill.. with the menacing presence of the FPI in attendance to make sure the newly enslaved behaved themselves and performed obediently in front of the gathered media. What a PR success, it even brought tears to the Religious Affairs Minister’s eyes! How naïve do they think we are?

    • Muffinman

      Absolutely Catweazle. The most alarming sentence in this report is ; ‘[The event] was witnessed by the Minister of Religious Affairs and the
      Tasikmalaya district head,” Nurul Mubin, the head of the Islamic
      Defender’s Front (FPI) in Tasikmalaya’.
      So, are we to assume that the FPI are aligned with the Department for Religious Affairs ? Some sort of ‘Spiritual Guide’ ? to make sure ‘religious affairs’ are carried out according to their version of the ‘correct’ religion ? MAN !
      Since when has the FPI been recognized by the government of Indonesia as a legal authority ? Their understanding of ‘rule of authority’ as clearly demonstrated here, is one of ‘use of force (violent where necessary) and submission.
      When is the government going to take the legal action to bring this merry band of thugs into line and have them acknowledged that the laws and constitution of Indonesia apply to EVERYBODY , including them.
      If God is above the law , so be it. You are not God, Nurul Mubin.

  • Valkyrie1604

    “The minister also promised to provide school scholarships for the children of the newly-converted Ahmadis”

    Only 20 converts and the minister was in attendance with crocodile tears being shed? Let me see, converts? Don’t we all know.

  • Strength

    “Journalists should seek out the data and find out if they have truly converted,” he said. WHAT????? NO. NO. They should not. Leave them alone. It’s no one’s business what they believe. What, so it can be uncovered that they really don’t believe it and then the ignorant thugs can come and kill them? The ignorance is STUNNING!!!!

  • henk

    There shall be NO coercion in Islam….

    right…..

  • sissi

    Freedom of religion like what stated in Pancasila….. But ‘where’ in practice????

  • Wonderer

    I am increasingly growing from concerned over worried to outraged and scared!

    It is one (bad enough) thing to not immediately react to the acts of violence against Pancasila.

    It is an entirely different thing to persistently remain silent (the president) and have government officials openly sporting one religious believe over the other (the minister of religious NOT Muslim affairs)!

    I DEMAND the president to take position! It is NOT an option for the resident to not have an opinion in this matter.
    Silence means support for the perpetrators!
    KNOW this Mr president! Know this, people of Indonesia!

    • http://sairyou.me/ Daniel Budiarto

      I agree with you. But the fact remains, no matter how hard we plead and how loud we demand action, the president just doesn’t care. (Anyone noticed what his twitter account is for?) He doesn’t even read these comments.

      Remember just the other day when his staff said criticisms are “just part of democracy” in (what I imagine to be) a dismissive tone? As if the people didn’t matter—oh wait, we don’t, not to SBY we don’t. He’s just concerned about his own “legacy”, which he hopes to be decorated by numerous awards and international recognitions, but instead will be full of blemishes and scars, bloods of victims of religious violence splattered across his portrait, as he goes down in history.

      I just hope the 5000-strong petition to ACF—which I signed—will get their attention.

  • Wonderer

    Well, Roland, thanks for this treasure…it has IN FACT happened:

    http://www.economist.com/node/1538397

  • blightyboy

    This story produces just one emotion in me, and that is hate for Indonesia’s brand of Islam. I cannot believe that this is the true face of this religion. I just want to vomit. Indonesia’s minister for religious affairs is a disgrace, not just to his faith, but to mankind. How does Yudhoyono sleep at night?

  • MadWorld

    20 out of 10.000 ahmadis proselytized to become Sunni. Ahmadis are relatively a new branch of Islam, so recently started from zero believers, to become 10.000 & now just 9980.

  • Nazgul

    Nazty work

  • http://twitter.com/joestargazer Yosef Riadi

    And @sbyudhoyono bestowed with World Statesman Award. What a an ugly joke here adding insult to the victim’s injury

  • Maggie Vaughn

    This is the only way to survive in Indonesia. Go with the flow. The situations for the minorities in Indonesia resembles the minorities under the Nazi and the conquistadores more and more.

  • aziz bhatti

    Indonesia will find another ‘heretics’ tomorrow after killing all Ahmadiyas. But my point is a killer will remain a killer and eventually the whole society even neighbors (Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, etc.) will also be affected by the rising extremism.

  • devine

    Of course, only what YOU believe is the truth! Guess that is the reason why Islam is on the decline worldwide…

  • devine

    Yeah, and it made maybe 10,000 move away from Islam…

  • Duncan

    no – 20 who have been forcibly converted to save their lives – your logic like your beliefs are sick

  • TalkingEid

    20 more ’20 minute Sunnis’ I suspect.

  • Tri, Bandung

    “Do not force anyone to become Muslim, for Islam is plain and clear, and its proofs and evidence are plain and clear. Therefore, there is no need to force anyone to embrace Islam. Rather, whoever Allah directs to Islam, opens his heart for it and enlightens his mind, will embrace Islam with certainty. Whoever Allah blinds his heart and seals his hearing and sight, then he will not benefit from being forced to embrace Islam’

    Al-Baqara 256

    Your rejoicing is clearly against the will of Allah, what does that make you? A hypocrite? Apostate? or just a blind man with hate in his heart?

  • TGIF

    Coercion is not the way…

  • hruni a

    Sorry Rajiv But these are all 20th C interpretations and as such deviate from the true word of the prophet and his close brothers
    It is you who is misleading people with an apologetic gesture

    HERE – we see forced conversions and you rejoice – you are a sick puppy

  • Tatanka

    You want to go back to the pure practice and interpretation? I wonder what the international laws would say in today’s society if a grown-up man marries a 6-year old girl?

  • me

    how sad.

  • rustynails

    What a truly objectionable pieces of humanity are Nurul and Ali. So sad.

  • Anti MOH

    And the award goes to SBY. Peace loving president as he is a pious (or would rather called fanatics) follower of religion of peace.

  • Pow

    Why are too many people so supportive toward the Ahmadiyya sect? Ahmadiyya is all about deviant teaching of Islam.

    • Wayan. PIA

      Because killing people for god is wrong as is forcing your beliefs upon them. If they are deviant so what? let your god judge. As it happens I believe they are more true to the peaceful spirit of Islam than any other sect save the Sufi

    • Lucy

      Allah says: “Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth has been made clear from error. Whoever rejects false worship and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that never breaks. And Allah hears and knows all things.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 256]

      Let your god decide pow

    • TalkingEid

      Your comment says it all about Islam an it’s ugly view of those who don’t follow the Sunni path. Allah will judge, not you.

    • Dr Sami

      That is your opinion just as many Jews and Christians believe the same about Islam. Perhaps you have not heard the Hadith: Go to receive baait at the hand of my Mahdi even if you have to cross snow capped mountains on your knees.

      You owe it to yourself to seek guidance from Allah with a open mind and humble spirit.

  • ARTDK

    Only Sunna is a right way.

    • TalkingEid

      Try saying that out loud in Iran.