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Indonesia: Ahmadis may face hard times during Ramadhan

The refugees still live in small rooms, separated from each other with only a piece of cloth or other device. A public kitchen located between the two buildings seems to get dirtier by the day while its ceiling starts to crumble.

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch | Int’l Desk
Source/Credit: The Jakarta Post | Mataram
By Panca Nugraha | July 20 2012

While Muslims in big cities are busy shopping and stockpiling for the Ramadhan fasting month, some 140 Ahmadiyah followers in West Nusa Tenggara have to face the reality that they are still living in a refugee camp after being evicted from their homes seven years ago.

Wisma Transito transmigration center has been their home since Feb. 4, 2006 when hundreds of local residents ousted them because of their “deviant” Islamic beliefs.

The central government once allocated social aid for the refugees, but this stopped in 2008. According to the Ahmadis, the government has neglected their civil rights, including issuing them with identity cards. Twenty babies that were born at the camp during the last seven years have yet to receive their birth certificates.

Without identity cards and birth certificates, the Ahmadis cannot access any health care or education facilities from the government.

Discrimination against Ahmadis is common, given their status as a minority sect that claims to be part of Islam but believes that their leader Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is the last prophet. Ahmadis often experience violence from other Muslims who consider their teachings blasphemous.

Despite their beliefs, the Ahmadi refugees have decided that they will follow the government’s announcement that Ramadhan will begin on Saturday.

There was nothing special happening at the camp on Friday, one day before the fasting month was due to begin.

The refugees still live in small rooms, separated from each other with only a piece of cloth or other device. A public kitchen located between the two buildings seems to get dirtier by the day while its ceiling starts to crumble.

However, the excitement appeared as the Ahmadis prepared for their Friday prayer. The neatly dressed children waited for their parents near the small mosque. Almost all adults, both men and women, performed the prayer.

“The children are happy because they know that Muslim people will start the holy Ramadhan month on Saturday,” said Suriyani, 34, one of the refugees. “We’re just like other Muslims who are happy when Ramadhan comes.”

Happiness may spark among the children, but their parents have other things to worry about.

Suryani said that this year’s Ramadhan would be even more difficult than the previous years because the increases in food prices were so high.

Retail grade Kerosene is being sold at Rp 9,000 (US$1), which is more expensive than kerosene for industrial purposes, which is sold at Rp 7,500, she said.

The refugees could only rely on kerosene, as the government did not provide them with any subsidies for liquid gas (LPG). State oil gas firm PT Pertamina distributed 3kg of LPG to local residents, but they did not receive this, as the Ahmadis are not registered as members of the village.

Suriyani said that the situation with her family is difficult, as they are relying on the income of her husband Kaheruddin, who works as motorcycle taxi driver.

However, Suriyani believed that Ramadhan would be passed with sincerity. She hoped that she could finish the whole month without any flaws. “We expect to have a smooth fasting month with no failures,” she said. (fzm/lfr)

Read original post here: Ahmadis may face hard times during Ramadhan

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