A cleric of the Ahmadiyah Islamic sect speaking in an April 2013 interview through a door of the Al Misbah mosque in Bekasi, which was shuttered by authorities that month. Photo by Adek Berry/AFP
The Ahmadiyah community has long suffered persecution at the hands of religious hardliners in Indonesia, but new evidence revealed by Wikileaks shows that Saudi Arabia specifically pushed the Indonesian government to act against the minority Islamic sect.
Wikileaks recently published more than 60,000 secret government documents from Saudi Arabia, with many more supposedly to follow. The massive amount of documents are currently being poured over by journalists and translated from Arabic so that their secrets can be shared with the rest of the world.
One of those secrets, discovered by The Rabwah Times, is that the Saudi Arabian Government, through its embassy in Jakarta, was secretly attempting to influence the Indonesian government to persecute followers of Ahmadiyah.
Rabwah found two damning documents related to the Saudi police. The first comes from the late Saudi Crown Prince Naif bin Abdil Aziz and is dated March 14, 2012. It is written in reply to reports from several governmental agencies regarding the spread of Ahmadiyah in Indonesia.
Part of Aziz’s reply reads: “… the issue of the Ahmadiyya was discussed by the preparatory committee of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs which came up with a plan to set up practical programs with the help of the Foreign Ministry, Ministry of the Islamic Affairs and the Supreme Islamic Council of Indonesia to stop the spread of Ahmadiyya in Indonesia. ”
The Rabwah Times notes that this letter was sent just one month before a mob attack on an Ahmadiyah mosque in a village located in Singaparna, West Java.
The second cable comes from former Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and is in reply to the above cable by Crown Prince Aziz. Dated May 15, 2012, it lists four recommendations from the former king regarding the Ahmadiyah situation in Indonesia. One of the recommendations reads: “Have The Kingdom’s Embassy in (Jakarta) continue its support of the Supreme Islamic Council of Indonesia for Islamic Propagation (Islamic Dawa) in order to face this (Ahmadiyya) community and inform the Indonesian government of their position (beliefs).”
Ahmadiyah communities in Indonesia have received increasingly fierce and vocal persecution in recent years from hardline religious groups that the government has taken little action to prevent.
In February 2011, a mob of people wielding knives and stones attacked about 25 Ahmadiyah members in Cikeusik, Banten province, killing three. A court convicted 12 member of the mob to sentences of six months or less for their roles in the deadly attack.
Since the early 2000s, the Saudi Arabia government has been shown to invest huge amounts of money into influencing the development of Islam in Indonesia, including large payments to hardline Islamic groups (including ones that were later linked to terrorist attacks).