Police have halted an investigation into last week’s attack on an Ahmadiyah mosque in Tulungagung, East Java, citing an agreement by the victims to stop worshipping in their mosque.
“The victims have promised not to file a lawsuit,” Tulungagung Police chief of detectives Adj. Comr. Lahuri told Tempo.
Lahuri said that Ahmadiyah congregation members also agreed to stop worshipping in their mosque, located in Gempolan village.
A mob of more than 100 people, mostly youths from Gempolan village and neighboring areas, damaged the Baitul Salam mosque on Thursday. The mosque, built in 2007, had its windows and entrance door destroyed after the mob threw stones and bricks at the structure.
Prior to the attack, residents, police and the local Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) met with mosque attendant Japar, Ahmadiyah member Edi Susanto and Ahmadiyah preacher Rizal Fazli, to request that they shutter the mosque and stop spreading Ahmadiyah teachings.
Aminullah, an Ahmadiyah cleric who oversees the Tulungagung area, told the Jakarta Globe that Ahmadiyah members in the village were intimidated by the police and residents.
“Our members were under pressure,” Aminullah said on Monday. “They’re not well educated, seeing police with their uniforms in their village makes them scared. They would agree whatever the police said.”
Aminullah said that he suggested Ahmadiyah members make peace with the local residents. However, he said he did not realize that the agreement would force members to close their mosque.
“I did not know that detail,” Aminullah said. “But I believe they will be able to use it again later through a discussion. The most important is they’re not taking over our mosque.”
He said that he told the Ahmadiyah community not to fight back because previous experiences showed that Ahmadiyah lose most legal cases, even if they were the victims.
“We’re minority and they [legal enforcers] don’t care,” Aminullah said.
Firdaus Mubarik, spokesman of Indonesian Ahmadiyah Congregation (JAI), told the Jakarta Globe that religious freedom laws have failed to protect the minority Muslim group.
“If they’re prohibited to worship in the mosque, it means the police are siding with the attackers,” Firdaus said. “Police are protecting the interest of the perpetrators.”