Police cordoned off Bogor villas owned by religious sect leader

The Jakarta Post/October 6, 2007

The police on Friday cordoned off two villas belonging to the founder of Al-Qiyadah Al-Islamiyah to prevent any attacks on the property following a ban on the Islamic sect.

The police also questioned the caretakers of the villas, located at Gunung Salak Endah resort in Pamijahan district, Bogor regency, Cibungbulang Police chief Adj. Comr. Ade Yusuf Hidayat said.

The villas, he said, belong to Ahmad Moshaddeq or Haji Salam, the leader of the sect.

"The villas are not the sect headquarters ... but one of them is where Haji Salam is said to have received revelations on sect teachings," Ade said, adding the sect targeted membership in Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Makassar in South Sulawesi and Padang in West Sumatra.

The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) announced Thursday that Al-Qidayah Al-Islamiyah is blasphemous and urged the government to ban the sect.

"People should be careful with Ahmad Moshaddeq's teachings ... he says he is the next prophet after Prophet Muhammad," MUI's chairman Ma'ruf Amin said.

Ma'ruf added that daily prayers, fasting and performing a haj pilgrimage were not compulsory according to the sect's teachings.

MUI said whoever followed the sect's teachings would be considered an apostate.

"Although the sect has been banned, we have yet to receive arrest orders," Ade said.

The police revealed that a caretaker at Vila Pink, one of the villas, said the location was used by the sect to initiate new members and hold Koran readings.

The other villa, five kilometers away, is called Vila Katonggo.

The land was reportedly purchased from Indonesian Military retirees.

A wooden shack in the villa compound is said to be the place where Salam held meditation sessions.

Eman, a resident who lives near the villa, said he was shocked to hear Salam was the leader of a sect.

"He is so friendly ... well, there are many Koran readings held at Vila Pink but none of us (have ever been) invited."

Pamijahan district head Bambang W. Tawakal, who accompanied the police on their visit to the villas, said his office was still collecting data on the sect.

"We knew nothing about it before because it was never reported to us ... the residents seemed to have accepted them since there were no reports of public unrest over their activities," he said.

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