Ahmadis make plea for no ban

Jakarta, Indonesia - The Ahmadiyah religious sect has pleaded with the government not to ban the 57-year-old organization.

“Our existence is legitimate by law. We are not an outlawed organization. We have been registered since 1953. Don’t prohibit us from assembling. We are a part of Islam,” Ahmadiyah spokesman Ahmad Mubarik said as quoted by Tribunnews.com.

Ahmadiyah has claimed to have around 500,000 members throughout the country, with the largest concentration in South Bandung.

Mubarik also said the Ahmadis should not be pushed to form a new religion outside Islam. The government, he added, has no right to outlaw the Ahmadis for their beliefs.

“Don’t force us to convert from Islam. Don’t prohibit our faith. For us, it is ridiculous if the government forces us to make our own religion,” he said.

His statement came in response to growing pressure to ban the Ahamdiyah sect in the country following a bloody mob attack on a number of Ahmadis in a village in Pandeglang, Banten, earlier this month.