Authorities violate the religious freedom of the Ahmadiyyah, Christians and Shiites

Indonesia's religious minorities are under growing pressure from radical Islamists:

After the re-closure of an Ahmadiyyah mosque, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) accuses the Indonesian government of violating the religious minorities' freedom of religion. On Wednesday, the human rights organization demanded a replacement of the Governor of West Java province, Ahmad Heryawan. He is responsible for several closures of Ahmadiyyah mosques or Christian churches since February 2012. The STP also criticized that the governor had publicly denied the Ahmadiyyah's faith. According to media reports, he stated that the violence in the province of West Java would not stop before the Ahmadiyyah religion was abolished. "Someone who defames religious minorities in public should not hold a position within a constitutional state," the STP wrote in a fax-message to Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

On Tuesday, the province chief had ordered the closure of an Ahmadiyyah mosque in the village of Sawangan (Depok region). Four mosques had been closed by order of the authorities in April 2013. The administrative chief justified the closures by emphasizing that the Ahmadiyyah religion may not spread further, as the Sunni majority considers it to be a non-Muslim sect.

However, the province government – which is disputed because of its closeness to the Islamists – also closed several churches of the "Batak Protestant Church Kaliabang" and the "Merciful Christ Church of Indonesia" and some Pentecostal churches in 2012, after Islamists had protested against the Christians. Officially, the closures were justified by stating that there were no building permits – but more than 80 percent of the Sunni mosques don't have permits either and are not forced to close.

The Ahmadiyyah, Christians and Shiites suffer from the increasing pressure of the radical Islamists. Last Sunday, 400 Islamists raided the village Tasikmalaya (West Java Province) which is inhabited mainly by Ahmadiyyah, destroying 29 homes. 170 Shiites who had fled from the villages of Karang, Blu'uran and Gayam (on the island of Madura in East Java Province) after a raid led by more than 1,000 Islamists in August 2012, could not return to their villages until this day. Two Shiites were hacked to death during the riots. The court acquitted the alleged perpetrator. However, a Shiite leader was sentenced to four years in prison for blasphemy in September 2012. At least 26 of the Shiites who escaped the violence on the island of Madura were forced to convert to Sunni faith.