That They May See: 6,800 members of persecuted Ahmadiyah community sign up to donate corneas, breaking Indonesian record

Members of the Jemaah Ahmadiyah Indonesia community receiving plaques from the World Record Museum of Indonesia (MURI) in recognition of their record-breaking cornea donor commitment pledge. Photo: MURI / Facebook

Few religious communities in Indonesia face as much persecution as Ahmadiyah. Followers of an Islamic sect that is officially considered deviant by the government and most of Indonesia’s majority Sunni Muslims, they are systematically discriminated against by the government and their communities have been the targets of numerous violent and sometimes deadly attacks in the last few years.

But, despite not seeing eye-to-eye with so many of their countrymen, thousands of Ahmadiyah followers recently pledged to donate their corneas to Bank Mata Indonesian (Indonesian Eye Bank) after their deaths, potentially giving thousands more the gift of sight. So many pledges were made, in fact, that it was recognized by the World Record Museum of Indonesia (MURI)

Ahmadiyya has become the religious institution that has donated the most to Bank Mata Indonesia (Indonesian Eye Bank).


6,800 members of Jemaah Ahmadiyah Indonesia have pledged to be potential donors, and 258 members have already donated corneas…

… and helped repair the corneal damage to 516 people

The Ahmadiyya community from Jalaksana Village in the district Manislor, Kuningan, alone has 1,715 pledged donors.

The pledges came from thousands of Ahmadiyah congregants from all over Indonesia. The chairman of Ahmadiyah Semarang, Ibnu Sartono, said on Sunday that the donated corneas could ease the burden of the people with visual impairments either from birth or caused by accidents.

Ibnu said the idea of donating corneas originally came from Ahmadiyah’s Central Leadership board and it immediately got an overwhelmingly positive response from their congregations.

“We did not think there would be so many (volunteers) so the number of donors is well beyond our original estimates,” Ibnu said as quoted by Merdeka.

“At the very least, we hope that what we are doing can inspire other Muslims to help their fellow human beings, regardless of their race, religion or political affiliation.”

Ibnu said their goal now was to get 10,000 potential donors so that they can help more of their fellow Indonesians see more clearly.

“We want to show our solidarity with our fellow human beings who are experiencing suffering, in the hopes that we too can be given the same space to exist alongside other groups in Indonesian society.”

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