To many hardcore Islamic fundamentalists in Indonesia, there is a scourge worse than Israel, evangelical Christians and boozers.
No group inspires more hate than those who follow Ahmadiyya, a breakaway sect of Islam.To many hardcore Islamic fundamentalists in Indonesia, there is a scourge worse than Israelis, evangelical Christians and boozers.
Just as Mormons broke away from mainstream Christianity in the 1800s, Ahmadis parted from conventional Islam in the same century to proclaim that Muhammed was not the final prophet. They have developed other unconventional beliefs as well -- interestingly, they think Jesus survived his nailing to the cross and went on to wander modern-day India.
To fundamentalists, they are heretical and should not even call themselves Muslims.
To really aggressive fundamentalists, they must be killed.
That was the punishment meted out on an Ahmadhi village in Indonesia last week, where arson attacks and three murders were caught on video. Warning: this is extremely disturbing footage of lifeless or near-lifeless bodies being pelted with rods and stones.
The clip was released by Human Rights Watch, which has called violence against Ahmadis a "disturbing trend." In Indonesia, where there are roughly 200,000 Ahmadis, the sect bore 50 attacks in 2010.
Who's whipping up the violence? None other than the Islamic Defenders Front, a vigilante group recently profiled by Global Post.
While profiling the vigilante group in Jakarta, I spoke to an Islamic scholar who warned me of coming attacks on Ahmadis. "We've seen these vigilantes go after nightclubs and Christians for a long time. Don't miss out on the big story: they're much more violent towards Ahmadiyya."
Perhaps he was right. The Islamic Defenders Front founder I interviewed wore a T-shirt under his white robes.
The back read, in Indonesian, "Death to False Clerics" in a blood-dripping font.