Ahmadiyah followers seek exit from shelter

The Jakarta Post/August 5, 2009

Around 140 members of the Ahmadiyah sect and their families asked the Mataram municipal administration on Wednesday for permission to leave the shelter at the Transito Guest House where they have been living for the last three-and-a-half years.

Representatives of the Islamic sect, which has been deemed defiant by mainstream Muslim groups, met assistants to the Mataram mayor to make their request.

"We ask for a permit from the regional government to live in wherever part of the city, even along the river banks or slum areas. We are tired of living in the shelter," coordinator of the displaced Ahmadiyah followers, Syahidin, said after a 30-minute meeting.

He said the Ahmadiyah members sought a permit to live in Mataram as the local government had never responded to their request to return to their home village of Gegerung, West Lombok.

"We have been waiting for the answer for four months. Both the provincial and municipal governments have not answered our request," Syahidin said.

The Ahmadiyah followers were displaced from their village following an attack by hard-line Muslims in February 2006. The attackers burned down their homes and place of worship.

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