An Ahmadiyah community in Tasikmalaya, West Java, was left in shambles on Sunday after hundreds of Islamic hard-line group members destroyed homes in their village.
Asep Taufik Ahmad, a member of the Sukamaju village in the Singaparna subdistrict, said some 400 hard-liners from a mass organization stormed the village at 1 a.m. and damaged dozens of houses belonging to followers of a minority sect of Islam, Ahmadiyah.
"It all started with our decision to hold a Koran recital event to commemorate Isra Mi'raj [the birth of prophet Muhammad]. We already informed the local police about our plan," Asep told the Jakarta Globe on Sunday.
The police tried to persuade the villagers to not go through with their plan, citing security issues.
"The police said we should cancel the event for our own safety, because a mass organization, I won't say which one, was apparently unhappy with our activity, but we proceeded anyway because it was a religious activity," he said.
Some 60 police officers were standing by to secure the event. However, Asep said that hundreds of hardliners came to the village Sunday early Sunday morning and broke past the police barricade.
"The police were outnumbered, everything happened so fast. Suddenly they managed to get into our village and started to attack our houses with stones and sticks while chanting 'Allahu Akbar' ['God is great']. There was not much the police could do to stop them, they were totally out of control," he said, adding that the assailants left the village about two hours later.
"Fortunately there was no fatality or casualty, even though many of our belongings were damaged and people here are still traumatized," he said.
Tasikmalaya Police chief Sr. Comr. Wijonarko told Indonesian news portal portalkbr.com that the attackers were not only from Tasikmalaya but also from Bandung and Ciamis. He said even though the attackers did not wear any identifying articles, the police believe they were members of the Islamic Defender Front (FPI).
Asep denied reports that the hard-liners set an Ahmadiyah mosque on fire.
Ahamdiyah men have been guarding the village since last night, Asep added.
"We did not have a wink of sleep since last night, we are still too scared because we heard that more hard-liners from Majalengka will come to attack us," he said.
Asep said on Sunday around 3:00 a.m. that police officers were standing by in the village, but no additional personnel had been deployed since the attack.
Singaparna Police chief Comr. Nono Suyono told Indonesian news portal Detik.com that the police were investigating the attack.
"The case is now being handled by Tasikmalaya Police," he said.
Previously, hundreds of members of radical Islamic groups on Friday called for “jihad in Myanmar” during rallies in front of the Myanmar embassy in Menteng, Jakarta, to protest growing violence against Rohingya Muslims, another minority sect of Islam.
The FPI, along hundreds of members of the Islamic People Forum (FUI), Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid, Islamic Reformist Movement (Garis), Indonesian Committee for World Muslim Solidarity (Kisdi), Islamic Preaching Council (DDII), Indonesian Muslim Brotherhood Movement (GPMI) and Taruna Muslim (Muslim Youth), marched to the heavily guarded Myanmar embassy on Friday, brandishing banners that read “we want to kill Myanmar Buddhists” and “stop genocide in Myanmar.”
[Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the time of the attack. Hard-liners came to the village at 1:00 a.m. and destroyed the homes. The Jakarta Globe regrets this error.]