Indonesia evacuates members of Gafatar sect after clashes

Indonesian security forces evacuate hundreds of Fajar Nusantara Movement (Gafatar) members after attacks by locals

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Indonesian Navy personnel assist a member of the Gafatar sect disembark from the KRI Teluk Banten naval ship after it transported more than 700 members from West Kalimantan province to Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta January 27, 2016.

Updated Jan 28, 2016

Indonesian security forces evacuated hundreds of members of the Gafatar sect to Jakarta after they were driven from their homes in the West Kalimantan province.

The minority group, considered as a deviant sect by Indonesian authorities, were attacked last week by other West Kalimantan residents who oppose their beliefs.

Indonesian Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin said that the Gafatar group is an illegal group and should not be followed by community members as the group combined elements of Islam, Christianity and Judaism into one teaching.

Gafatar had recently relaxed its religious stipulations by using compassion as their guise, National Police spokesman General Anton Charliyan said this month, cited by The Jakarta Post.

“Their religious requirements are actually very low which is attractive for anyone who finds religious observance to be a chore and a hassle,” he said as cited by The Jakarta Post.

The attackers burned houses and cars but no deaths were reported, local media reported.

Some 700 people arrived on a navy vessel at Jakarta’s main port, they will be housed in government shelters before being relocated, officials said.

One of the evacuees, Ateng, who arrived in the capital of Jakarta denounced the violence. “The law guarantees the right to assemble and organise,” he said.

Authorities consider movement’s teachings "dangerous" and the group was outlawed last year.

About 2,000 more people affiliated with Gafatar remained in West Kalimantan and would be relocated soon for their safety, officials said.

TRTWorld and agencies