Indonesia: Ahmadiyah Flee Jambi Village Over Threats, Conversion Attempts

Two Ahmadiyah Muslim families left their homes in Jambi after members of a local Islamic boarding school offered the families an ultimatum: convert to Sunni Islam or face the possibility of violence.

The head of the Assalamah boarding school, in Palalawan Jaya village, led a group of 80 students and community leaders to the homes of two Ahmadiyah family on Nov. 8 and ordered them to convert to Sunni Islam under the threat of violence. The families were given one week to make their decision, said Ahmad Ilyas, a local Ahmadi member said.

“The village chief said that if Rukmana and Majid and their family members refused to abandon their faith or leave the village, [the chief] would not be responsible if something bad happen to them,” Ilyas said. “[The villagers] said they would come again with official letter declaring [the Ahmadi’s] agreement to convert.”

A week later the mob returned to ask Rukmana and Majid if they had made a decision. The men were hesitant to respond and the local village chief said he would return in a day.

Instead the families left, Ilyas said.

“They decided to leave the village, rather than convert,” he said. “Majid has moved to Curup, Bengkulu, and Rukmana has moved to Batu Putih village, the village I live in.”

Ahmadiyah routinely face pressure to convert to Sunni Islam in Indonesia, where some prominent Muslim leaders have labeled the minority sect “deviants” and governments, like the one in Jambi, have passed local regulations banning public Ahmadiyah activities all together.