Tasikmalaya Police Lock Ahmadiyah Congregation Inside Orphanage

Jakarta, Indonesia - The Tasikmalaya district prosecutor’s office, with the help of local police, on Wednesday officially closed down an Ahmadiyah orphanage in Kawalu subdistrict in Tasikmalaya, West Java.

Doni Sutriana, a local leader of the Ahmadiyah , told the Jakarta Globe that at around 10 a.m. sect leaders were asked to meet with the local government as well as other Islamic groups, where they were told to shut two of their buildings.

Kawalu Police said that a demonstration by several hard-line Islamic groups, including the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and the Islamic Reform Movement (Garis), was to be held there on Thursday, but declined to say whether the closure was related to the planned demonstration.

Syihab Ahmad, 23, a member of the Ahmadiyah congregation that remains trapped in the orphanage told the Jakarta Globe about their ongoing ordeal.

JG: What happened?

Syihab Ahmad: We were summoned by the district attorney for a meeting in the morning and he told us that Ahmadiyah conducted activities in the orphanage so it must be shut down. We told them that the only thing we did was pray, that’s all.

JG: Did they listen?

SA: No, people from the District Attorney’s Office came to the orphanage with the Tasikmalaya Police’s head of intelligence around 3 p.m. and locked the gate. They asked everyone to leave the orphanage and not to provoke the Islamic Defenders Front but the children refused to leave.

JG: How many people are inside?

SA: Around 15 people, ten children, one woman and four men.

JG: So you stayed inside?

SA: Yes and they [the District Attorney’s Office delegation and the Tasikmalaya Police’s chief of intelligence] left but shortly, around 30 members FPI came and shouted, “Burn!” They banged on the gate trying to get in but the rain fell and they eventually left.”

Syihab and the 14 others currently remain locked inside the orphanage, saying they could not leave because the building was still locked.

He said they still had enough food but that was the least of their concerns. “I’m scared that the worse could still happen,” he said.

A Jakarta Globe reporter is expected to arrive at the scene this afternoon.