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Ahmadiyah officially banned Hans David Tampubolon, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta The Bekasi municipality has officially

banned the religious practice of the Ahma diyah sect on Thursday, a move pluralists deemed as the legitimation of a violat ion of the spirit of the Constitution. The head of the Bekasi Agency for State Unity, Politics and Community Protection , Agus Dharma, said that the issuance of the decree banning Ahmadiyahs religious practices was passed in order to meet the demands of local people. Ahmadiyah activity has caused unrest among Bekasi residents. [The decree was] iss ued to prevent conflicts resulting from different beliefs among local residents, Agus said. The decree was signed by acting Bekasi mayor Rahmat Effendi, and involved all ci ty institutions contained under the Regional Consultative Council (Muspida). The decree accentuated a 2008 joint ministerial decree, and an Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) edict from 2005, demanding Ahmadiyah be disbanded because it was h eretic and blasphemous. There are around 200 Ahmadiyah followers in Bekasi, according to the city admini stration. Commenting on this latest development in Bekasi, the Commission for Missing Pers ons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) coordinator Usman Hamid said it was time f or all civilians to rise up and conduct forms of civil disobedience in protest a gainst a government that has legitimazed a discriminative regulation that basica lly violated the spirit of the Constitution, which guarantees peoples religious f reedoms and rights. Civil disobedience is not intended as a violation of the law but as a [peaceful] protest. The law, right now, no longer represents the rights of minorities, Usman told The Jakarta Post on Thursday. Usman also said that the Bekasi administrations move was a sign that the values o f democracy in the country have faded away. The main pillars of democracy are equal citizenship and human rights. Without the m, there can be no democracy. Democracy does not stop with the ballot box. Separately, Ahmadiyah spokesman Mubarik said that the nations legal system had do ne little to support minorities. The most horrific example is the fact that the murderers of three Ahmadiyah follo wers have not been brought to trial until now, Mubarik said, in referring to an i ncident that occurred earlier this year when three Ahmadiyah followers were brut ally murdered by a mob of fundamentalists in Cikeusik, Banten. Mubarik, however, stressed that for the time being, Ahmadiyah followers would co mply with the Bekasi decree, banning their activities. Our compliance does not mean that we are not going to fight back. We will fight for our rights through our legal representatives, who have submitt ed a judicial review to the Supreme Court on every discriminative decree and reg ulation issued in the country, he said. It will be a long fight. But people need to realize that Ahmadiyah followers are basically free citizens. Their right to freedom [of religion] must not be curtai

led. Any decree or regulation that curtails citizens rights is a violation of the Constitution and, therefore, for the sake of the law, such decrees and regulati ons must be annulled, he added.