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Indonesia under fire for light sentences in attack on Islamic sect


ReligionNewsBlog.com • Thursday July 28, 2011

An Indonesian court sent a “chilling message” Thursday by giving Muslim extremists light sentences for a vicious mob attack in which three sect members died, rights activists said.

Last February a mob of deranged Muslims savagely attacked members of Ahmadiyya, a Muslim minority sect.

The despicable attack, in which three people were killed and five others were injured, was filmed [warning: extremely graphic footage of Muslim savages hacking, beating and stoning members of a peaceful sect to death].

AFP writes

Twelve people stood trial but none faced murder charges in what human rights campaigners said was a travesty of justice in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country.

The sentences ranged from between three and six months’ jail — less than prosecutors had sought and well below the maximum penalty of 12 years.

Dani bin Misra, a 17-year-old who repeatedly smashed a victim’s skull with a stone, was sentenced to three months in jail for manslaughter.

Idris bin Mahdani, who led the 1,500-strong mob in the February attack, was convicted of illegal possession of a machete and received five months and 15 days in jail.

Most of the convicted men are likely to walk free within weeks, observers said.

“The Cikeusik trial sends the chilling message that attacks on minorities like the Ahmadiyah will be treated lightly by the legal system,” Human Rights Watch deputy chief for Asia Phil Robertson told AFP.

“This is a sad day for justice in Indonesia.”

While Ahmadis refer to themselves as Muslims, theologically Ahmadiyya is considered a sect or cult of Islam.

The primary reason for this is that Ahmadis reject the notion that Muhammad is the last prophet. This teaching is one of the essential doctrines of the Islamic faith. Aside from this, Ahmadis observe almost all Muslim practices, including reciting the Koran, praying five times a day and fasting during the month of Ramadan.

Though Ahmadiyya is one of the most peaceful forms of Islam, in several countries extremist Muslims — who view the Ahmadis as heretics — have carried out savage attacks against the sect’s followers and their properties.

Radio Australia says

Judges hearing cases involving religious freedom in Indonesia are frightened by fundamentalists attending court, says a lawyer representing the persecuted Ahmadiyah sect. [...]

Human Rights Watch says the trial sent a chilling message that attacks on minorities will be treated lightly by the country’s legal system.

Erna Ratnaningsih, chairwoman of Indonesia’s Legal Aid Foundation, and a lawyer for the Ahmadiyahs, told Radio Australia’s Asia Pacific: “There is discrimination and there is no fair trial on Ahmadiyah cases, according to the sentences.”

In contrast, an Ahmadiyah member charged with violence had received a sentence of 18 months.

She said lawyers knew before the trial that judges or prosecutors “would be influenced by fundamentalists organisations who attend in the court.”

Graphic footage of the attack was filmed by an Ahmadiyah follower who mingled with the attackers and watched his friends being murdered.

Prosecutors managed to convince the court that the video justified a reduced sentence for the killers.

Our opinion

Muslims and Muslims leaders around the world must speak out against those who believe they have to defend Islam by acting like barbarians.

While the Quran calls for the punishment of those who reject Islam, in today’s society Muslims must learn that they cannot commit murder and other forms of violence under the guise or covering of Islam.

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