BANTEN, INDONESIA (BNO NEWS) — Six followers of a minority sect declared heretical by the government died after clashing with about 1,000 Muslims in Indonesia’s West Java province of Banten on Sunday, state-run news agency Antara reported.
About 1,000 residents from various regions in Banten picketed the house of the Ahmadiyah Islamic sect’s leader to stop followers from holding their worship there. Tens of Ahmadiyah followers arrived on Saturday night in Cikeusik village to spent the night at leader’s house.
“Villagers want that the Ahmadiyah dissolve because it has been declared by the Indonesian Ulemas Council (MUI) as heretic but they ignored the villagers’ call,” Cikeusik community leader Lukman told Antara.
When the residents arrived at the house, the Ahmadiyah followers had already prepared different kinds of sharp weapons such as samurai, machetes and spears, according to the news agency. Then, an anti-Ahmadiyah protester was stabbed in the arm by a member of the minority sect, triggering the clashes.
“I saw six people were killed. They are all followers of Ahmadiyah,” Lukman said.
Police, however, only confirmed three dead.
In 2008, the government issued a decree ordering followers of the sect to stop their activity and return to mainstream Islam, or face imprisonment. This has increased the number of attacks on members of Ahmadiyah.
Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, guarantees freedom of religion in its constitution.