INDONESIA: Intimidation of Ahmadis escalates in Singkut, Jambi


Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-155-2013
ISSUES: Freedom of religion, Minorities, Non-state actors,

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding intimidation by hundreds of villagers together with members of an intolerant group against the Ahmadi congregation in Singkut, Jambi. It was reported that the intimidation is a continuation of previous threats against two Ahmadi families that took place last month, which resulted in the relocation of these families outside their village.


According to Padang Legal Aid Institute (LBH Padang) and Ahmad Ilyas from the Indonesian Ahmadi Congregation (JAI), some 250-300 villagers and members of the Indonesian Islamic Student Association (Persatuan Mahasiswa Islam Indonesia, PMII) Sorolangun conducted a ‘protest’ at the office of JAI Singkut at 10:30 a.m. on 4 December 2013. Among other things, they demanded that the Ahmadis leave Singkut, take down their organisation’s sign board, and embrace the ‘real’ teachings of Islam.

A negotiation between the leader of Ahmadi Singkut and the intolerant mob took place, and was mediated by several state officials, including the Deputy Chief of Sarolangun District Police and some members of the military. LBH Padang reported that, after the negotiation, the Ahmadi half-heartedly agreed to take down the JAI’s sign board themselves. Pressure from the protesting villagers and the PMII members eventually resulted in the sign board being taken down by the Public Order Agency at 12.00 p.m.

In early November 2013, it had been reported that approximately 80 villagers and members of an intolerant group intimidated two Ahmadi families living in Pelawan Jaya village. They demanded that the two families either give up their religious beliefs or leave the village. Among the crowd was the Head of Pelawan Jaya village, Arifin, who stated that he would not take any responsibility if ‘something (bad)’ happened to the family. Being repeatedly intimidated not only by the villagers but also the leaders of Pelawan Jaya village, the two families decided to move out. One family moved to Bengkulu province, whereas the other made their way to Batu Putih village.


In an interview with the AHRC, Ahmad Ilyas of JAI Singkut mentioned that it was only in 2013 that his congregation experienced direct intimidation from intolerant groups. In previous years, the intimidation was indirect – there were only rumours that the Ahmadis in Singkut were not safe. LBH Padang suspected that the escalating intimidation was triggered by the issuance of an instruction by the Regent of Sarolangun, in July 2013. It called for the prohibition of religious activities by the Ahmadi. Prior to the issuance of the instruction, Cek Endra, the Regent, mentioned to the media that the growth of the Ahmadis in Singkut is ‘everybody’s homework’.

The instruction refers to the 2008 Joint Decree of the Minister of Religious Affairs, the Attorney General and the Minister of the Interior as well as Jambi Governor Regulation No. 27 Year 2011 – both are higher regulations prohibiting Ahmadis’ activities.

Intimidation and discrimination in Indonesia against religious minorities, including the Ahmadis, has been ongoing for the past few years. Earlier this year, the AHRC reported the closing down of three Ahmadi mosques in Cianjur and another one in Bekasi, West Java. In 2011, three Ahmadi members were murdered in Cikeusik. Twelve individuals involved in the killing were sentenced to a light punishment of three to six months imprisonment.

Concerns have been raised by the international community, including the UN, on the state of religious intolerance in Indonesia. In a human rights review at the UN this year, the Human Rights Committee expressed its concern on ‘failure of the part of State authorities to protect victims of violent attacks motivated by religious hatred’. Responding to the concerns raised by several states during the Universal Periodic Review in 2012, the Indonesian government promised to review existing laws and policies to ensure their compatibility with the right to freedom of religion or belief. There has been no indication, however, that the government will fulfil its promise as of today.

Please write to the authorities listed below, asking for their intervention in this case. The relevant authorities should also take steps to ensure the escalating tension in Singkut will not lead to further discrimination or persecution. Please urge them to withdraw discriminatory laws and regulations against religious minorities.

The AHRC is writing separately to the UN Independent Expert on Minority Issues as well as the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and Belief.

To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER


Dear ___________,

INDONESIA: Intimidation of Ahmadis escalates in Singkut, Jambi

Name of victim: Members of Indonesian Ahmadi Congregation (JAI) in Singkut, Jambi
Names of alleged perpetrators: Head of Pelawan Jaya Village (Arifin) and unidentified villagers and members of the Indonesian Islamic Student Association (Persatuan Mahasiswa Islam Indonesia, PMII) Sarolangun. 
Date of incident: 4 December 2013
Place of incident: Singkut, Jambi

I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the escalating intimidation against the Ahmadi congregation in Singkut, Jambi. I have received information that on 4 December 2013 at 10.30 a.m., some 250–300 villagers and members of the Indonesian Islamic Students Association (Persatuan Mahasiswa Islam Indonesia, PMII) came to the office of the Indonesian Ahmadi Congregation (Jemaah Ahmadiyah Indonesia, JAI). They held a ‘protest’ demanding members of JAI leave Singkut, take down JAI’s sign board, and embrace the ‘real’ teachings of Islam. After an attempt to negotiate, eventually the JAI’s sign board was taken down by public order officers at 12 p.m.

I am aware that such intimidation was a continuance of threats previously directed to two Ahmadi families in the area. I was informed that in early November 2013, approximately 80 individuals came to the houses of two Ahmadi families and demanded that they either give up their religious beliefs or leave the Pelawan Jaya village. In the end, the Ahmadi families decided to leave the village, due to the harsh and repeated intimidation. Instead of protecting them, the Head of Pelawan Jaya Village intimidated them and expressed his intention to wash his hands of them, mentioning ‘he would not responsible if ‘something’ happened to them.

I have received various reports regarding the discrimination and religious-based violence in Indonesia against religious minorities – including the Ahmadis. I was informed, for instance, that three Ahmadi mosques in Cianjur and one in Bekasi were forcibly closed down by intolerant groups in collaboration with the local authorities. I am also aware that in 2011, three Ahmadis were killed in Cikeusik, simply due to their beliefs. Knowing how dangerous it can be for religious minorities to live in Indonesia, I am concerned with the current escalating intimidation against the Ahmadis in Singkut.

I note with concern that the intimidation against the Ahmadis in Singkut started only this year. It started after the issuance of an instruction by the Regent of Sarolangun in July 2013 calling for the prohibition of religious activities by the Ahmadi. In the instruction, the Regent of Sarolangun refers to the 2008 Joint Decree of the Minister of Religious Affairs, the Attorney General and the Minister of the Interior on the same matter. The enactment of this decree has resulted in the birth of discriminatory local regulations, such as Jambi Governor Regulation No. 27 year 2011, which are in effect used to justify discrimination against the Ahmadi.

Given its discriminatory nature as well as its effect in influencing the issuance of other discriminatory regulations against the Ahmadi, I am making a strong request: ensure that the 2008 Joint Decree and discriminatory regulations against the Ahmadis and other religious minorities are revoked in accordance with international human rights law. At the UN Universal Periodic Review, the Indonesian government had promised to withdraw or revise such regulations in accordance with international human rights laws.

In the particular case of intimidation against the Ahmadis in Singkut, precautionary measures should be taken so that the intimidation will not get worse and extend the list of violations of freedom of religion in Indonesia. The government should send a clear message to the public in Singkut that any act of intimidation, threat and/or violence will be punished in accordance with the law. A criminal investigation against individuals who have threatened the two Ahmadi families would be a good starting point. At the same time, government officials should not be involved in any acts discriminating against the Ahmadis.

I look forward to your swift and positive response in this matter.

Yours sincerely,


1. Mr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
President of Republic of Indonesia
Jl. Veteran No. 16 
Jakarta Pusat
Tel: +62 21 386 3777, 350 3088. 
Fax: + 62 21 344 2223, 3483 4759

2. Ms. Harkristuti Harkrisnowo
General Director of Human Rights
Ministry of Law and Human Rights
Jl. HR Rasuna Said Kav. 6-7
Kuningan, Jakarta 12940
Tel: +62 21 525 3006, 525 3889
Fax: +62 21 525 3095

3. Mr. Suryadharma Ali
Minister of Religious Affairs
Jl. Lapangan Benteng Barat No. 3-4
Jakarta 10710
Tel: +62 21 381 1679
Fax: +62 21 381 1436

4. Mr. Gamawan Fauzi
Minister of Interior
Jl. Medan Merdeka Utara No. 7
Jakarta Pusat 
Tel: +62 21 345 0038
Fax: +62 21 385 1193

5. Mr. Basrief Arief
Attorney General
Jl. Sultan Hassanudin No. 1
Kebayoran Baru
Jakarta Selatan
Tel: +62 21 722 1269
Fax: +62 21 725 1277

6. Gen. Sutarman
Chief of the Indonesian National Police
Jl. Trunojoyo No. 3
Kebayoran Baru, Jakarta Selatan 12110
Tel: +62 21 384 8537, 726 0306
Fax: +62 21 7220 669

7. Brig. Gen. Budi Gunawan
Chief of Jambi Regional Police
Jl. Bhayangkara
Tel: +62 741 22888
Fax: +62 741 22014

8. Ms. Siti Nur Laila
Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission
Jl. Latuharhary No.4-B 
Jakarta 10310 
Tel: +62 21 392 5227-30
Fax: +62 21 392 5227


Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme 
Asian Human Rights Commission (

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : AHRC-UAC-155-2013
Countries : Indonesia,
Issues : Freedom of religion, Minorities, Non-state actors,