Jakarta Post
Saturday, June 14, 2008 *2:12 PM*
Victims fear FPI attack might be eclipsed by Ahmadiyah issue

*Dicky Christanto* ,  The Jakarta Post ,  Denpasar   |  Sat, 06/14/2008
11:07 AM  |  National

Victims of the June 1 National Monument (Monas) attack have said demands for
the Ahmadiyah sect to be banned are part of a systematic attempt to deflect
public attention away from the violence that took place.

Nino Graciano, a rights activist who was assaulted by members of the Islamic
Defenders Front (FPI) during the ambush, said the move against Ahmadiyah
would only serve to conceal the real issue.

"People will forget the brutal violence and accept the motives behind the
attack," Nino said.

He was among five members of the National Integration Movement (NIM) and
students of several universities in Denpasar who were beaten by FPI members
while participating in a peaceful rally to support freedom of religion.

Another victim, Nyoman Aisanya Wibhuti, or Oming, said the attackers
targeted not only Ahmadiyah followers taking part in the rally, but also
other demonstrators.

"I told them (the attackers) I am a Hindu, but they kept beating me," Oming

She sustained a head injury, which she said might cause permanent brain

Nino said he was afraid the mounting calls for Ahmadiyah to be banned could
lead to the facts about the attack being buried and provide reasons to free
the attackers.

"The government should be firm in dealing with the attack by saying what
happened was a sudden assault on people who were holding a peaceful rally.
Therefore, transparent investigation is needed and maximum punishments must
be given to the attackers," he said.

The police have arrested nine people in connection to the Monas violence.

NIM president Maya Safira Muchtar said the NGO activists had received
threats in the forms of phone calls and text messages before and after the
attack, but she said the group would not bow to the intimidation.

"We do not intend to spread hatred against the FPI or other hard-line
groups, but our message is that we need real actions to preserve national
unity," she said.

Since the joint decree restricting the activities of Ahmadiyah followers was
issued, many have demanded the Islamic sect, which the government deems to
be "deviant", be banned.

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