Islamic Sect Leader Held for Killing of Muslim Cleric

By webadmin on 08:09 am Aug 22, 2012
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Bayu Marhaenjati

Sukabumi, West Java. The leader of a minority Islamic sect has been arrested by th police over the killing of a mainstream religious cleric who had regularly sought to win over the head of the fringe group.

Even before the roles of the key people in the case were confirmed, angry Sukabumi residents who suspected the sect’s involvement in the disappearance of cleric Ustadz Edin attacked and destroyed homes belonging to the Toriqoh Atijani group.

West Java Police found what they believe is the body of Ustadz Edin, from the village of Cisalopa, buried in the backyard of Toriqoh Atijani leader Sumarna.

“We suspect that it is Ustadz Edin’s body,” said West Java Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Martinus Sitompul. “However, we still have to perform a DNA test.

“We arrested Sumarna and his followers. For now, we accuse them of killing the cleric.”

The Indonesian Ulema of Council has declared the sect run by Sumarna to be heretical.

Shortly after the arrest, clerics from the Sukabumi chapter of the Indonesian Ulema of Council performed a “correction session” at a nearby mosque, to try to force Sumarna and his followers to go back to “the true Islamic teachings.”

Martinus said that Ustadz Edin could have been killed as early as Aug. 14, the day when he was first noted to be missing.

Several residents said that Ustadz Edin was the toughest opponent of Sumarna’s teachings, and would frequently ask the sect leader to disband his group and return to “true Islamic teachings.”

The police said that on Aug. 14, Ustadz Edin visited Sumarna’s house in his latest attempt to persuade the sect leader to return to traditional beliefs.

“We will continue our investigation to determine what really happened,” Martinus said.

“If we have the results from the DNA tests, and can gather some more evidence, then we will be able to make a decision on the case.”

The violence at the Toriqoh Atijani complex occurred when about 1,000 resident gathered looking for Sumarna on Sunday, before police had announces that they had arrested Sumarna and found the body of Ustadz Edin.

The gathering turned violence when Sumarna could not be found.

Sunday’s trip to the Toriqoh Atijani complex was the second for many of the residents. They had gone there on Friday because of claims made by Sumarna that doomsday would fall at 2 p.m., that day. When that failed to materialize, they went home, only to return two days later.