Jakarta. The Indonesian Police arrested at least ten people accused of vandalizing an Ahmadiyya mosque in the district of Sintang, West Kalimantan Province, according to a police spokesman.
They are currently being detained for a questioning but police have yet to name them criminal suspects, West Kalimantan Police spokesman Chief Comr. Donny Charles said in the provincial capital Pontianak.
"There was no casualty in the incident but the mosque was damaged after it was pelted by stones,” Donny said, adding that a building behind the mosque was set to fire.
"We have arrested 10 people for allegedly attacking the worship place in Sintang," he was quoted by Antara news agency as saying.
According to him, police have 24 hours to determine if the 10 detainees are criminal suspects.
Located at Balai Harapan village in Tempunak sub-district, the mosque is owned by members of the Indonesian Ahmadiyya Followers, or JAI.
Donny said the attack on Friday involved around 200 people, prompting authorities to deploy a 300-strong joint force from the police and the military in the aftermath to protect 72 Ahmadis in the area.
The move came after Chief Security Minister Mahfud MD ordered an investigation into the attack and actions to restore order and protect the minority.
While labeling the incident as a “sensitive issue”, Mahfud said on Friday the government won’t let persecution against minorities go without legal response.
“I have talked with the governor and the police chief of West Kalimantan, asking them to handle this matter properly according to the law with respect to peace, unity and human rights. Everyone must abide by the law,” Mahfud said.
“This is a sensitive issue so everyone must restrain themselves. We live in the Unitary State of Indonesia where human rights are protected by the nation,” he added.
Indonesian Ahmadis were often evicted from their homes and targeted in violent attacks that in several cases have claimed lives, such as the February 2011 attack that left three Ahmadis dead in Cikeusik, Banten.
According to an estimate, there are more than half a million Ahmadis in the predominantly Muslim nation.
The Indonesian Ulema Council, or MUI, has issued an edict on Ahmadiyya twice, both labeling the group as non-Islam and its followers as apostates.
The first edict was issued in 1980 and upheld by the second in 2005, signed by then MUI chairman Ma’ruf Amin, now the country’s vice president.
Ahmadiyya, one of the biggest sects of Islam, observes the true teachings of Islam based on Koran and those of Prophet Muhammad. However, they also believe that another prophet can come, contrary to the belief among the vast majority of Muslims worldwide who consider Muhammad as their last prophet.