Unidentified people destroyed an Ahmadiyah mosque in Kendal regency, Central Java, in the early hours of Monday.
None of the congregation of Al Kautsar mosque in Gemuh village, Kendal, were on the premises at the time.
Everything was destroyed. The walls of the Koran recital room were torn down […], the roof was damaged and Korans were also [torn],” Encep Jamaludin, the iman at the mosque, said as quoted by kompas.com on Monday.
The mosque caretaker called Encep to inform him of the incident. The caretaker said no one witnessed the desecration as it happened late at night and the mosque was located in a secluded area and was surrounded by farms.
The incident took place when local residents were asleep and it was raining heavily. The caretaker was not on the premises at the time.
Material losses are estimated at up to Rp 200 million ( US$14,727 ).
Ta’zis, the leader of the Ahmadi community in Purworejo administrative village, said the mosque had a building permit, but local residents, including local government officials, had opposed the presence of the mosque since it was established in 2003.
Protests affected the progress of the mosque’s construction, which had been halted and parts of the mosque were incomplete even though it had been established more than a decade ago.
“We have an IMB [building permit] and deed for our mosque, so why it is still being rejected? Why was it destroyed?” Ta’zis told kompas.com.
The mosque was scheduled for completion on May 16, which is when remaining parts of the roof were to be installed. However, the district and village chiefs told the builders to stop working, Ta’zis said.
The Ahmadiyah community had reported the incident to Gemuh Police chief I Wayan Suprapto. The mosque management had intended to lodge an official police report.
Meanwhile, Kendal Police chief Adj. Sr. Com. Maulana Hamdan said the police were investigation the case.
“Just entrust the matter to [the police] and don’t commit any activities that have the potential to hurt any of us,” Maulana said as reported by kompas.com.
The police coordinated with the local leaders communication forum ( Forkompindo ), religious figures from Islamic organizations Nahdlatul Ulama ( NU ) and Muhammadiyah, as well as the Inter-Religious Harmony Forum ( FKUB ), which resulted in the discontinuance of the Al Kautsar mosque’s construction.
Similar incidents have taken place in the past, Maulana said, such as in 2004, 2006 and 2011. Previous incidents had befallen the Al Kautsar mosque, but this was the first since Ahmadi leaders had agreed not to continue with the mosque’s construction.
Kendal FKUB secretary Yusuf Darmawan argued that the construction must be terminated as it threatened public serenity and security.
“The residents only oppose the construction of the Ahmadiyah mosque; we have no problem with the mosque members,” he said. ( afr/rin )