ArticlePDF Available

Who is to Blame, the victims or the perpetrators? A study to understand a series of violence targeting the accused heretic group Ahmadiyya



Conducted in Indonesia, this study analyzes how a religious group accused of being heretical ended up receiving threats and a number of violent reactions, a situation in which the victims were considered to have caused the violence. The study presented here focused on this case of the Ahmadiyya, a minority Muslim group in Indonesia that are the most frequently reported as being victims of violence. In total, 309 Sunni Muslims participated in filling out open-ended questions, and 10 Sunni Muslims (all male) participated in interviews discussing the Ahmadiyya and interreligious groups. We found that a substantial number of majority Sunni Muslims think that the values of the Ahmadiyya group are incompatible with common, mainstream Muslim values. As a consequence, their existence is considered a threat and a disruption to the Muslim community. Therefore, violence is justified if the group insists upon continuing their religious activities. In the eyes of these Sunni Muslims, Ahmadiyya members undermine the coherence within the Muslim community, and occurrence of violence against Ahmadiyya members is thus thought to be the victim’s own fault.
Victim blaming within religious groups 1
Who is to blame, the victims or the perpetrators? A study to understand
a series of violence targeting the accused heretic group Ahmadiyya
Idhamsyah Eka Putra1, Peter Holtz2, & Any Rufaedah3
1 Persada Indonesia University & Daya Makara Universitas, Indonesia.
2 IWM Leibniz-Institut für Wissensmedien (Knowledge Media Research Center), Tübingen,
3 Sekolah Tinggi Agama Islam Nahdlatul Ulama, Jakarta, Indonesia
Second and final revision of the manuscript that was accepted for publication pending minor
revisions at Psychology of Religion and Spirituality (PRS) on March 22 2017; the revision was
accepted for publication on February 13 2018.
Corresponding Author: Idhamsyah Eka Putra
Victim blaming within religious groups 2
Conducted in Indonesia, this study analyzes how a religious group accused of being heretical
ended up receiving threats and a number of violent reactions, a situation in which the victims
were considered to have caused the violence. The study presented here focused on this case of
the Ahmadiyya, a minority Muslim group in Indonesia that are the most frequently reported as
being victims of violence. Three hundred and nine Sunni Muslims participated in filling out open
ended questions and ten Sunni Muslims (all male) participated in interviews discussing the
Ahmadiyya and interreligious groups. We found that a substantial number of majority Sunni
Muslims think that the values of the Ahmadiyya group are incompatible with common,
mainstream Muslim values. As a consequence, their existence is considered a threat and a
disruption to the Muslim community. Therefore, violence is justified if the group insists upon
continuing their religious activities. In the eyes of these Sunni Muslims, Ahmadiyya members
undermine the coherence within the Muslim community, and occurrence of violence against
Ahmadiyya members is thus thought to be the victim’s own fault.
Keywords: social exclusions, victim blaming, heretic group, social identity, intra-group relations
Victim blaming within religious groups 3
Who is to blame, the victims or the perpetrators? A study to understand a series of violence
targeting the accused heretic group Ahmadiyya
Groups that are accused of being heretics are prone to receiving threats and acts of
violence (Putra, Mashuri, & Zaduqisti, 2015; Yildiz & Verkuyten, 2011). In Indonesia, members
of the Ahmadiyya, a minority Islamic group, are most frequently reported as being victims of
violence (Human Rights Watch, 2013). Up to now, many Ahmadiyya members have been exiled
from their hometown, forcing them to live in shelters (Burhani, 2014). Surprisingly, on February
11, 2011, an Islamic bulletin, Al-Islam, stated that the Ahmadiyya group is to blame itself for
becoming a target of violence. According to Al-Islam, Ahmadiyya’s ideology or beliefs are the
causes for the violence that occurred. The study presented here was conducted to understand
more deeply what is behind the victim blaming of Ahmadiyya group.
Victim blaming: Individual and social perspectives
A tendency to blame the victim instead of the perpetrator is not a new phenomenon.
There are several theoretical explanations for this phenomenon. One line of explanation assumes
that people usually believe that the world is a just place (Hafer, 2000; Hafer & Bѐgue, 2005).
According to this ‘just world’ perspective, good things happen to good people and bad things
happen to bad people, thus, the victim is blamed, because they supposedly only got what they
deserved. A rape victim, for example, may be blamed because she may have been wearing a
seductive or provocative dress. Therefore, such misfortune is believed to be the victim’s fault
(e.g., Sebby & Johnston, 2012). With regard to intergroup blaming, victims who are members of
an outgroup are blamed because that group is thought to have done wrong things.
To a member of a ‘mainstream’ religious group, and in particular to radical or extremist
members of the group, heretics may appear to be ‘enemies within’ (Finlay, 2007, p. 330): Their
Victim blaming within religious groups 4
defection from the group norms and values held by the mainstream group is not only despicable
in itself; it may even endanger the group more than an external enemy could. In particular,
whenever religious norms and values are considered to be sacred and beyond question, any
deviance from the prevailing group norms constitutes a threat to the religious group as a whole
at least in the eyes of those who endorse a fundamentalistic interpretation of their religion (cf.
Herriot, 2007). This is because the heretics’ supposedly ‘aberrant’ behavior could – in the radical
group members’ perception – ‘spread over’ to other members of the ingroup ‘like a disease’
(Holtz & Wagner, 2009). In view of the fact that religious groups are defined by the beliefs,
values, and practices they share, they only exist “as long as there are members willing to engage
in the labour of identity construction and identity confirmation” (Wagner, Holtz, & Kashima,
2009; p. 369). Hence, religious fundamentalists may regard violent action against such ‘deviants’
as not only justified, but necessary to prevent further evil (cf. Finlay, 2007).
Likewise, focusing on societal states and influenced by a social identity perspective, a
study conducted by Putra, Mashuri, and Zaduqisti (2015) showed that the reason why
Ahmadiyya members are blamed is because the Sunni Muslim participants think that Ahmadiyya
has undermined Islamic values and conspired to abolish Islam. From a social identity perspective
(Tajfel, 1982; Tajfel & Turner, 1979), a person is seen as part of a reflexive group in which the
members of the group “know their affiliation and have criteria available to decide who else is
also a member” (Wagner, 1995, p. 127). This group identity brings along with it values and
emotional attachment between the group members (Tajfel, 1982). Group membership may also
imply certain ways of thinking and living.
Another possible explanation for the derogation of members of Ahmadiyya group is
based upon an attribution perspective, that is, that people’s judgment is influenced by how
Victim blaming within religious groups 5
people attach meaning to others’ behavior in a particular event (i.e., by their attributions). It is
important to note that there are two general attribution types, internal and external attribution. In
internal attribution, the causal explanation of an event is based upon internal characteristics (e.g.,
personality) of the victim. On the other hand, the causal explanation of external attribution is
related to outside forces, such as the environment or situational factors. A victim of domestic
violence, for instance, will often be blamed by the perpetrator(s) because of the victim’s
personality, such as an offensive personality (i.e., internal attribution). However, we assume that
this kind of perspective can only be used to explain interpersonal relations, but not intergroup
relations. In the case of blaming Ahmadiyya members, a person is most often blamed because
they are a member of Ahmadiyya group, rather than because of their personality or internal
factors. Such perceptions of ‘bad personalities’ can only emerge after a person is known to be
part of the negative outgroup (Putra, Holtz, Pitaloka, Kronberger, & Arbiyah, 2016).
A study conducted by Castano and Giner-Sorolla (2006) revealed that violence
perpetrated against a group is perceived as justified and exempted from sanctions only when the
group is dehumanized. Ingroup members may feel that such violent action is wrong, but it still
cannot be deemed bad if the victim of the violence is categorized as not fully human.
Characterizing a victim as part of a derogated group (i.e., dehumanization as less human,
infrahuman) or a threatening group can help ingroup members to defend such wrongdoing
perpetrated by their own group.
In constrast to Castano and Giner-Sorolla’ (2006) findings, a study conducted by Bilali,
Tropp, and Dasgupta (2012) demonstrated that whenever ingroup members believe that the
outgroup sparked an intergroup conflict, ingroup members tended to feel less responsible for past
acts of mass violence that were commited by members of their group. This finding can shed light
Victim blaming within religious groups 6
on the question as to why the Turkish government (Study 1) does not admit past wrongdoings
toward the Armenian people: This is is because they believe that the Armenians themselves were
responsible for the occurance of intergroup conflict.
A large group with many members usually has sub-groups or even sub-subgroups (Putra
et al., 2015). Groups are considered to be part of a superordinate group or a common ingroup as
long as their members share core values or goals (Gaertner & Dovidio, 2010; Gaertner, Dovidio,
Anastasio, et al., 1993). Subgroups that do not share these values and goals will eventually be
demonized, scolded, or excluded by the majority members; the non-conforming subgroup is then
labeled as deviant or heretic. In the case of Islamic groups, Ahmadiyya is one group that is
frequently scolded by majority Sunni followers. Recognizing the multiple factors of victim
blaming, this study explores how members of Ahmadiyya group are blamed. We also analyze
whether other reasons for blaming a victimized group can be found in the case of the
Ahmadiyya in Indonesia: The past and the present
Throughout the world, Ahmadiyya is a minority group within Islam which has frequently been
the victim of violence. Initially, Ahmadiyya’s teaching was spread aound 1889 in Qadian, a
town located in the area between Pakistan and India which became the headquarters of
Ahmadiyya movement. In the partition of Pakistan-India in 1947, the headquarters was moved to
Lahore and in 1948 to Rabwah, Pakistan. However, because of prosecution by the Sunni
majority and prohibition of spreading Ahmadiyya teaching by the Pakistan government in 1984,
the Ahmadiyya headquarters was moved to London.
Many Muslims perceive severe differences between Ahmadiyya’s teachings and the
teachings of Sunni Islam. First, their founder Mirza Gulan Ahmad is believed by the Ahmadis
Victim blaming within religious groups 7
(the adherents of Ahmadiyya) to be the Messiah and a prophet, although he did not bring a new
religion or a new holy book. This belief is a major difference to the two biggest denominations of
Islam, Shia and Sunni, where Muhammad is considered to be the last or the end prophet.
Second, an Ahmadi can only engage in congregational prayer in his/her own community and
with an Ahmadi Imam (leader). On the other hand, other Muslims can pray congregationally
anywhere, even when the Imam is not from the same community. Third, even though Ahmadis
also accept the Quran as their holy book, their interpretation of it is different from that of Sunni
and Shia Muslims. Ahmadiyya does not accept Quran interpretations from non-Ahmadis, while
other Muslim communities are comparatively open to interpretations that have been developed
by other congregations (Hanafi, 2011). Mainly because of these three points, Ahmadiyya’s
existence has triggered fierce debates within majority Sunni Muslim groups. The debate centers
around the question of whether Ahmadiyya is still part of Islam or not. These issues have also
even been covered by national TV stations in Indonesia.
Persecution of Ahmadiyya members has become more intense since the early 2000s.
However, there have been criticisms of Ahmadiyya ever since the beginning of its arrival in
Indonesia in the late 1920s. For example in 1932, Muhammadiyah, one of the two biggest Sunni
Muslim groups in Indonesia, issued a fatwa to forbid their followers from following
Ahmadiyya’s teachings (Firdaus, 2007 in Farkhan, 2012). Long after that, in 1980, the
Indonesian Ulema Council (Majelis Ulama Indonesia/MUI), issued a fatwa declaring Ahmadiyya
as a heretical, deviant sect (Prodjokusumo, 1994 in Farkhan, 2012).
Between 2000 and 2015, there were several severe acts of persecution and rejection
against Ahmadiyya. For example in Selog, East Lombok, in September 2002, Ahmadiyya
members experienced physical abuse. In 2005, an attack happened in Parung, Bogor (Yuswanto
Victim blaming within religious groups 8
& Afifi, 2007 in Farkhan, 2012). In 2006, Ahmadis in Ketapang, West Nusa Tenggara province,
were exiled and still live in shelters up to now. In 2011, a violent attack occured in Cikeusik,
Pandeglang, Banten, resulting in the death of three people. In Manis Lor village, Kuningan,
attacks occured in 2002, 2007, and 2010 (Farkhan, 2012). In 2015, an Ahmadiyya Mosque in
Tebet, Jakarta, was sealed after quarrels between Ahmadis and other Muslims (Murti, 2015).
Currently, Ahmadiyya members have been banned, even by the government, from doing certain
religious activities, such as giving sermons outside of their group or holding mass recitation
openly (Mahmuddin, 2008 in Farkhan, 2012). Religious activities can only be conducted inside
their own domain to avoid social turmoil. As a consequence, Ahmadiyya members have
difficulty getting an e-KTP (electronic identity card), because they are not recognized as
Cases of heretic groups in Indonesia
Apart from Ahmadiyya, there are also other religious groups in Indonesia that are labeled
as heretics. This label is mostly given by the majority Sunni Muslims. Some of the groups are ,
for example, Shia Muslims, Gerakan Fajar Nusantara (Gafatar), Agama Djawa Sunda (ADS),
Himpunan Penghayat Kepercayaan (HPK) Masade, and Aji Saka.
According to those who are opposed to Shia, Shia is labeled as heretical because some of
their beliefs are considered different from those of the Sunnis. The biggest difference is in the
recognition given to Khalifa Abu Bakar, Umar, and Usman. Whereas the Shias only
acknowledge Khalifa Ali bin Abi Thalib, the Sunnis acknowledge all four. For an example of
outgroup treatment, persecution toward the Shia in Sampang in 2012 caused 37 damaged houses
(of Shia members), one death, and dozens of injured people. This conflict ended with the Shia
Victim blaming within religious groups 9
community relocating to Sidoarjo, giving in to the demands of the Sunnis (Mawuntyas, 2012;
Rufaedah & Hanifah 2015).
The Indonesian government also recently banned Gafatar, an organization that was
regarded as a deviant sect. Gafatar was founded by Ahmad Mushadeq, a member of Negara
Islam Indonesia (NII), in 1987. He established an organization called Al-Qiyadah al-Islamiyah in
2000 after discord between him and other NII members. The organization had around 8000
followers from various cities in Indonesia. In 2007 it was declared heretical and banned by MUI.
The reasons given were that they did not make mandatory the five pillars of Islam , and their
Shahada (declaration of faith) was different.
In 2009, Al-Qiyadah changed its name to Komunitas Millah Abraham (Komar). The
tenets were the same as Al-Qiyadah. Three years afterwards, Gafatar was established, with 14
provincial level managing organizations (Evan, 2016). Gafatar continued to grow, but was
banned from doing any activities by MUI and the government. MUI issued a fatwa on February
3, 2016, which declared Gafatar as deviant and heretical. On March 3, 2016, the government
issued a joint decree (Surat Keputusan Bersama/SKB) from three Ministries callin for order and
containing a warning to stop religious activities that deviate from the principal teachings of
Islam. Because of the fatwa and SKB, former Gafatar members could not socialize or do any of
their activities freely. They also could not give out any information about Gafatar for fear of
being accused of spreading their teachings, as was stated in the SKB (Wahid Institute, in
Another example is the cult of Kyai Madrais or Agama Djawa Sunda (ADS) in Cigugur-
Kuningan, West Java, that had existed since before Indonesia’s independence. This group was
used as a political tool by the Dutch colonial government, because it was rejected by most santris
Victim blaming within religious groups 10
(students of Islamic boarding schools). The Kyai Madrais group was considered deviant because
their teachings were different from those of the majority Sunni Islam. For example, they did not
require circumcision and they buried bodies in coffins. In 1964, this group was officially
dissolved by the government due to pressure from the people of Kuningan and the santris
(Kemenag, 2011). Most Madrais followers then chose Catholic as their official religion. Even
though their beliefs were closer to Islam, the strong hate that they had experienced made them
unwilling to choose Islam. There were at least 1.770 Madrais followers who converted to
Catholic, including Pangeran Tejabuana, their leader at that time. In 1981, the second generation
of the Kyai Madrais founder, Pangeran Djatikusuma, founded Paguyuban Adat Cara Karuhun
Urang (PACKU). But that group was again dissolved the following year because it was
considered the same as Kyai Madrais. Because of this obstacle, the leader made PACKU a
traditional custom group, not an organization. He named it Adat Karuhun Urang (AKUR), and it
still exists today (Rosidi, 2011).
Another cult group was Masade in Lenganeng Village, Sangihe, North Sulawesi. This
group was close to Islam, but in 1990 it was declared un-Islamic by MUI and the Muslims
outside the Lenganeng Village. After that labeling, Kantor urusan agama (office of religious
affairs) refused to perform any religious marriage ceremony for Masade followers. Since then,
the followers have left behind the term “Islam Kaum Tua” and have changed their name to
Himpunan Penghayat Kepercayaan (HPK) Masade (Rosidi, 2011).
Aji Saka group in Rancagong, Legok, Tangerang, Banten, is another group that was
considered deviant. This group has existed in Legok since 1984. In 2015, they were disturbed
when their leaders were summoned by the village officials to explain their beliefs. The local
leader then declared a ban on Aji Saka’s activities because they were considered deviant. This
Victim blaming within religious groups 11
matter has been handled by Komnas HAM, but Aji Saka members still cannot conduct their
activities as freely as previously, and their good name has not been restored (Komnas HAM,
The present study
The present study was conducted in Indonesia, as there has been an increasing tendency
of violence and social exclusion by the majority Sunni Muslims toward minority religious groups
(Human Rights Watch, 2014). In particular, we recuited participants in and around Jakarta, the
capital city of Indonesia.We focused the study of victim blaming on Ahmadiyya, the group that
has been the most frequently reported as a victim of violence. By understanding the reasons why
Ahmadiyya is blamed, we hope that this study can help answer why groups accused of being
heretical are socially excluded, and can help find ways to resolve cases of victim blaming.
Data collection and procedure
We collected qualitative data from three different field research projects. Two of them
included open-ended questions, which were parts of a questionnaire in an interreligious study.
We named these data as Data 1 and Data 2. Another set of qualitative data was collected from
interviews solely conducted for this study. We named this set Interview Data. Quotes from
interviewees’ statements, Data 1, and Data 2 are marked with ‘M’ for males and ‘F’ for females
(only from Data 1 and Data 2), followed by their age.
The open-ended questions and interview sections were presented in Indonesian language,
and participants with a clear religious identification of Sunni Muslim were invited to participate.
Before starting, participants were asked to fill in an informed consent form to confirm their
Victim blaming within religious groups 12
agreement to voluntarily participate in this research. Upon finishing, participants were debriefed
and thanked.
Data 1. Two hundred and eight Sunni Muslims (Males= 125; Females= 83; Mage= 23.65,
SD= 7.33, Minimum= 16, Maximum= 58) participated in the study and responded to 3 questions
regarding Ahmadiyya. First, participants were asked to rate which group, if conflict happened
between (Sunni) Muslims-Ahmadis or Muslims-Christians, would potentially face a worse
situation compared to the other ‘conflicting’ group [Ahmadiyya or Christians]. Subsequently
they were asked to write their reasons. Next, the participants were asked to describe their
attitudes towards the Ahmadiyya group and Christians in general.
Data 2.One hundred and one Sunni Muslims (Males= 32; Females= 69; Mages= 23.26,
SD= 8.84, Minimum= 17, Maximum= 53) participated in the study and responded to 2 questions
about Ahmadiyya. First, participants were asked to respond to a statement that the Ahmadiyya
group itself is the cause of the problems it faces. After that, they were asked to explain the
reasons of their response.
Interview data. Ten males participated in the interviews, with age ranging from 19 to 45
years (M= 26.10, SD= 7.08). We decided to use an all-male sample for several reasons. First, in
the Muslim world, males tend to be dominant and hold authority in interpreting how Muslims are
(Al Munajjid, 2001). Second, females, as a wife and/or a daughter, are supposed to follow the
leaders; a wife must obey her husband (, 2014). Whereas we only interviewed male
participants, we already had information on women’s perception of Ahmadiyya from Data 1 and
Data 2.
In the interviews, interviewees were asked about interreligious groups: How Muslims
should see other groups, what they think about the Ahmadiyya group, and what Ahmadiyya
Victim blaming within religious groups 13
members think about majority Sunni Muslims, what they supposedly think about Christians, and
what Christians supposedly think about Muslims (i.e., Sunni Muslims). In the present study, we
will only report the data concerning Ahmadiyya.
This study used thematic content analysis in order to identify common themes in the texts
provided for analysis. The text data were identified, coded, categorized into themes, and
translated (see Table 1). Two independent raters coded messages / statements that referred to the
themes we developed (see Hallgren, 2012). The results of inter-rater reliabilities (Cohen’s kappa)
ranged from k = 0.42 (similar faith) to k = 1.0 (smart). We decided to exclude some other themes
because of their lack of reliability (e.g. exclusive, undermining Islam, and tolerant group). In the
conditons where respondents gave multiple statements, we used multiple response analysis There
were two general themes that were identified as common features: (1) the enemy from within is
more dangerous; (2) because victim groups are troubling, they need to be blamed. In the
following we present the results for these two general themes.
[Table 1]
The enemy from within is more dangerous
From Data 1, Muslim participants (N= 208) perceived that if conflict happens between
(Sunni) Muslims-Ahmadiyya or Muslims-Christians, the worst resulting conditions would
potentially be borne byAhmadiyya (f = 83.7%) members instead of Christians (f = 16.3%). This
would be because Ahmadiyya (N = 150) is considered to be heretic /deviant (f = 72.0%),
different from Islam (f= 25.3%), and troubling or a threat to Muslim society. (f = 16.0%).
Victim blaming within religious groups 14
When separately discussing Ahmadiyya (N = 150) and Christians (N = 72)
(see Table 2),
Christians were mentioned more positively (good/nice group= 50.0%) than Ahmadiyya
good/nice = 3.3%). Ahmadiyya were the most frequently perceived in relation to the themes
heretic/deviant (f = 32.7%), different from Islam (f = 13.3%), and troubling/a threat (f = 12.7%)
Note in particular an attribute like heretic/deviant. From participants’ comments, it seems
that one of the reasons why they are attributed as a heretical group is because they deviate from
Islamic teaching principles:
Umat Ahmadiyah di Indonesia dipandang sebagai umat yang sesat, umat yang
lebih memilih gelap daripada terang. Islam itu satu, mengacu pada al-quran
dana ajaran-ajaran dari Nabi Muhammad. Mereka mengaku Islam yang benar
tetapi mereka tidak mengamalkan al-quran dan syariat-syariat agama
Islam.hidup agar selamat, tetaplah berpegang teguh pada keimanan dan
berpedoman kepada al-Quran, bukan menciptakan segolongan "Islam" yang baru
bagi segolongan umat.(F16).
Ahmadiyya members in Indonesia is seen as a group of deviants, a group that
chooses dark over light. Islam is one, referring to Al Quran and the teachings of
Prophet Muhammad. They claim to be the true Islam but they don’t practice the
Quran and the sharia. To be saved, keep holding on to the faith and be guided by
Quran, instead of creating a new kind of “Islam” for a certain group. (F16)
We have excluded respondents whose statements not included for further analysis, because of lacking reliability.
Victim blaming within religious groups 15
There are norms, values, and goals in a group to be followed by the members. For a
group to be able to exist over ages, aspects of norms and values are essentialized (Holtz
& Wagner, 2009; Wagner, Holtz, & Kashima, 2009.). Thus when a novel norm is
appraised as different from the essentialized norms, such a novel norm will be understood
as incompatible with the member guidelines. It happens in Ahmadiyya, as stated in one
participant comment:
Ahmadiyah yang bersumber dari agama Islam tapi dalam pelaksanaannya ada
pengubahan isi agama sehingga agama Islam yang mereka anut sudah melenceng
dari esensi agama Islam (F18).
Ahmadiyya is based on Islam, but in implementation there are modifications to
the beliefs, so that their version of Islam is a deviation from the essence of Islam
From the comment above, it is understood that different, incompatible values cannot be
placed together. Once an incompatible value is forced into the codex of the essentialized
values, it is considered to be a subversive element in the group values (Sindic & Reicher,
Muslims who see Ahmadiyya as a deviant or heretical group , seem to be troubled
as members of Muslim society by Ahamdiyya’s activities.
Ahmadiyah merupakan aliran yang memahami Islam dalam ajaran Mirza
Ghulan Ahmad yang kemudian dalam masa selanjutnya dipahami sebagai
Victim blaming within religious groups 16
nabi.Hal ini yang bagi umat Islam (saya) tidak nyaman dengan
aktivitasnya yang tetap mengatasnamakan sebagai Islam (M24.)
Ahmadiyya is a group who understands Islam through the teachings of
Mirza Ghulan Ahmad, who was then regarded as a prophet. For a Muslim
(me), this causes discomfort, as in their activities they still bear the name
Islam (M24).
Ahmadiyya is interpreted as unrepresentative of Islam, thus their existence might
threaten the continuity of essentialized Islamic values. Ingroup Muslims are
uncomfortable with Ahmadiyya activities because they think that a tainted
religion will lessen the blessings received from the true religion.
Because they are troubling, they need to be blamed
For Data 2, Sunni participants (N= 101) were asked to respond to the statement that the
cause of the problems is Ahmadiyya itself. Sixty two participants (61.4 %) agreed with the
statement, 16 (15.8%) disagreed, and 23 (22.8%) took a neutral or ambiguous position.
Concentrating on participants who agreed with the statement and gave reasons (N = 49), we can
see that Ahmadiyya was perceived by them as a heretic/deviant group (f = 75.5%), as a group
which cannot exist/banned group (f = 22.4%), as troubling/threatening (f = 20.4%), and as
different from Islam (f = 12.2%).
The characteristics of deviant and threatening or troubling affected the most strongly the
reason why respondents agreed to the statement that the cause of the problems came from
Ahmadiyya itself. One of the statements given by a respondent was as follows:
Victim blaming within religious groups 17
…. [P]ada dasarnya ajaran Ahmadiyah memang sudah terang-terangan sesat
dengan mempercayai selain Nabi Muhammad SAW dan 24 Nabi lainnya.
Dikhawatirkan apabila kegiatan agama mereka terus berlangsung akan
berdampak buruk pada ajaran syariat Islam (F21).
Ahmadiyah merupakan sumber masalah tapi tidak terlepas dari pemegang
kekuasaan yang tidak menyikapi persoalan ini dengan bijaksana & seolah
... [B]asically, Ahmadiyya is obviously heretical by believing in a prophet other
than Muhammad SAW and the other 24 prophets. It is feared that if their religious
activities keep going, it will have a negative impact on Islamic beliefs (F21).
Ahmadiyya is the source of the problem, but this is also connected to the people of
power who did not address this issue wisely and is letting them be (M46).
This extract from M46 clearly explains that the source of the bad things faced by
Ahmadiyya members is to be found within the group itself.
All Islamic groups accept the Quran as a sacred text. Their various interpretations of the
Quran and their different practices of worship are what differentiate them from one another.
Differences within Islamic groups are considered a grace, but this only applies to groups who are
still within the ‘Islamic corridor’ (Putra et al., 2016; Alam, 2008). But what are the limits of that
corridor? How far can a group be beyond the limits and still be categorized as Islam, and from
which point on are they outside the corridor of Islam? In the case of Ahmadiyya, some
Victim blaming within religious groups 18
respondents have determined that Ahmadiyya is outside of the Islamic corridor since they accept
a prophet after Muhammad.
From interview data, two of interviewees explained:
Sebenarnya ahmadiyah mengakui bahwa mereka itu adalah Islam akan tetapi mereka
menyatakan bahwa adanya Nabi setelah Nabi Muhammad SAW. Sedangkan didalam
Islam diajarkan bahwa Nabi terakhir itu adalah Nabi Muhammad SAW. Jadi Islam
memandang ahmadiyah itu seperti nggak punya pendirian (M19).
Itu ajaran terlarang, itu mereka dapat darimana bahwa ada rasul lagi setelah nabi
Muhammad SAW.mereka Itu ngarang. Yang saya tahu nabi terakhir itu Cuma nabi
Muhammad SAW.Itu mereka siapa gurunya.Gak bisa diganggu gugat lagi.Saya cari tuh
gurunya, dapat darimana ajaran itu, saya cari (M28).
Actually Ahmadiyya claim to be Islam, but they state that there was another prophet after
Muhammad SAW, while in Islam it is taught that the last prophet is Prophet Muhammad
SAW. So Islam sees Ahmadiyya as fickle (M19).
This is a forbidden teaching, where do they get the idea that there was another prophet
after Muhammad SAW? That’s made up. What I know is that the last prophet is only
Prophet Muhammad SAW. Who’s their teacher? That’s inviolable. I want to know the
teacher, where did he get that belief, I want to know (M28).
Beliefs and practices that are considered to be “so” different rather than similar, like
Ahmadiyya’s beliefs compared to other mainstream Muslim groups, can be understood as a
This accusation has been clarified by an Ahmadiyya representative concerning their interpretation about the
prophet. For Ahmadiyyah, Muhammad is considered to be the last or the end prophet for making any new religions.
They believe that there will still be a messiah who can save the world and end the wars.
Victim blaming within religious groups 19
disruption. Such a large divergence can undermine group values. For this reason, violence
targeting Ahmadiyya members is understood as not solely the perpetrator’s mistake, because it is
believed to be triggered by Ahmadiyya itself. Interviewees explained:
Ya mungkin salah dulunya, mungkin itu kesalahan ahmadiyah awalnya.Ko mereka
melenceng dari ajaran agama islam. Biarpun mereka islam, tapi bedalah dengan islam
yang sekarang. Mungkin mereka marah lah, islam yang sesungguhnya marah. Kenapa
mereka melenceng lah dari ajaran islamnya sendiri gitu.Ya pantas aja ada konflik-
konflik kaya gitu. (M28).
Interviewer : Yop, menurut anda apakah benar ya letak permasalahannya itu ada di
Interviewee : ya,,benar, karena mereka yang bikin umat islam pada umumnya panas
dan emosi, yaitu dengan mengaku islam tapi ajarannya sudah salah
secara total, apalai mengaku ada nabi lagi setelah nabi Muhammad
Well maybe it was Ahmadiyya’s fault at the beginning. Why do they deviate from Islamic
teachings? Even though they are Islam, it is different from Islam now. Maybe they are
angry, the real Islam is angry. Why do they deviate from the real Islam itself? No
wonder there are conflicts like that. (Bidin, M28).
Interviewer : Yop, in your opinion, is it true that the problem lies in Ahmadiyya?
Interviewee : Yes, true, because they’re the one who made Muslims in general
bothered and angry, by claiming to be Islam. But the teachings are totally
Victim blaming within religious groups 20
wrong, especially acknowledging another prophet after Muhammad
In addition, some interviewees also perceived that such violence toward Ahamdiyya is wrong,
but sometimes it is needed to change erroneous ideas.
Sebenarnya sih kerusahan kalo ada kekerasan sangat disayangkan. Tetapi itu ibaratnya
kita hanya meluruskan sesuai apa yang telah diaqidahkan (M48).
Actually riots and violence are unfortunate. But it was like we only right what was
wrong, according to the creed (M48).
Our study found that representations of Ahmadiyya among majority Sunni Muslims in
Indonesia are linked to the interpretation of acts of mistreatment against Ahmadiyya members.
We found that Sunni Muslims who see Ahmadiyya as deviating from Islamic values view
Ahmadiyya more negatively than non-Muslim groups (i.e. Christians). Consequently,
Ahmadiyya is regarded by them as a disruptive or troubling group, because they have tainted
essential elements of Islamic values. Hence, violence targeting Ahmadiyya is deemed acceptable,
because Ahmadis are also perceived as “a stone-headed” group which does not want to change
their values to be in line with mainstream Islamic values.
It is almost trivial that different groups will differ to a certain degree. However, a given
subgroup will continue to be considered part of a common group whenever similarity is found to
be more salient than dissimilarity. If dissimilarity is more salient, the sub-group will not be
considered to be part of a common group. Under certain conditions, such a group can be
Victim blaming within religious groups 21
regarded as ‘deviant’ or as ‘heretic’ in the case of a religious group. Ahmadiyya, for some
reason, is categorized as strongly divergent from Sunni Islam (Putra et al., 2015; Burhani, 2014).
In our study, the case of Ahmadiyya in Indonesia indicates that the deviant sub-group is
considered more dangerous than rival outgroups such as Christianity (Putra & Wagner,
Previous studies have shown that ingroup members with incompatible values can
potentially be perceived as undermining the ontological meaning of a group’s identity (Wagner,
Holtz, & Kashima, 2009; Sindic & Reicher, 2009; Holtz & Wagner, 2009). Incompatible values
can be regarded as a trigger for dominant majority group members to think that the mere
existence of such a deviant group may damage the group identity, thus making them
inconvenient and threatening. For this reason, it can be understood why the enemy from within is
considered more dangerous than a hostile outgroup; the ingroup is undermined by the invisible
enemies masquerading as part of the group.
We argue that perceiving Ahmadiyya as ‘dangerous’, that is, as an enemy from within, is
an antecedent for Muslims to step up in blaming Ahmadiyya for acts of violence against
themselves. Moreover, our study shows that the reasons for blaming Ahmadiyya can be
explained with three models of reasoning. First, when Sunni Muslims think that Ahmadiyya’s
values are heretical and troubling, violence towards them is understood as something they
deserve (Hafer, 2000). In other words, “Ahmadiyya got what they deserved”. Second, some
Sunni Muslim respondents might think that violence perpetrated by fellow Muslims seems
wrong, but sometimes such violence is needed to teach a lesson and provide a deterrent effect
(Castano and Giner-Sorolla, 2006). In other words, “violence is considered wrong but it is not
that bad”, thus the Muslim perpetrators do not need to be sanctioned. Third, such violence is
Victim blaming within religious groups 22
understood to have happened because of Ahmadiyya’s very existence (i.e., values). Because of
their troubling values, violence appears as the consequence. Here, violence is used as a tool to
ban Ahamdiyya. In this reasoning, “it is because of Ahmadiyya’s existence, therefore violence
The study presented here focused on understanding victim blaming with regard to the
Ahmadiyya group. It is clear that the reasons we found for the victim blaming of the Ahmadiyya
might apply to other cases of victimized groups as well. Therefore, further research is needed to
explore the victim blaming phenomenon with regard to other groups.
In conclusion, the present study has revealed several potential reasons why a group is
blamed. In the context of intra-religious groups, a sub-group might first be labeled as heretical,
that is, incompatible with common religious values, or so different that the group could taint or
undermine religious values of the ‘mainstream’ group. Second, their existence is then regarded
as a threat and as a disruption for members of the mainstream group. In the end, when violence is
perpetrated by a dominant majority group, the blame will be borne by the victims because of
their negative characteristics.
Victim blaming within religious groups 23
Afifuddin, A. (2014). Sejarah Masuknya Jemaat Ahmadiyah di Kelurahan Sidokumpul,
Kecamatan Gresik, Kabupaten Gresik. Unpublished Master’s thesis. Surabaya: UIN
Sunan Ampel Surabaya.
Alam, A. (2008). The enemy within: Madrasa and Muslim identity in North India. Modern Asian
Studies, 42, 605-627.
Al-Munajjid, M.S. (2001, September 30). Why should the wife obey her husband?
Retrieved March 9, 2017, from
Burhani, A. N. (2014). Hating the Ahmadiyya: The place of "heretics" in contemporary
Indonesian Muslim society. Contemporary Islam, 8, 133-152.
Castano, E., & Giner-Sorolla, R. (2006). Not quite human: Infrahumanization in response to
collective responsibility for intergroup killing. Journal of Personality and Social
Psychology, 90, 804-818.
Evan (2016, January 14). Sejarah Lahirnya Gafatar: Dari Mushadeq ke Mushadeq Lagi.
Retrieved June 12, 2016, from
Farkhan. (2012). Jamaah Ahmadiyah Indonesia. Unpublished Bachelor’s thesis. Universitas
Indonesia, Indonesia.
Victim blaming within religious groups 24
Gaertner, S. L., & Dovidio, J. F. (2010). A common ingroup identity: A categorization-based
approach for reducing intergroup bias. In T. D. Nelson (ed.), Handbook of prejudice,
stereotyping, and discrimination (pp. 489-505). New Yoork: Psychology Press.
Gaertner, S. L., Dovidio, J. F., Anastasio, P. A. et al. (1993). The common ingroup identity
model:Recategorization and the reduction of intergroup bias. In W. Stoebe & M. Hewston
(Eds.),European Review of Social Psychology (Vol. 4, pp. 126). New York: John Wiley
and Sons.
Hafer, C. L. (2000). Do innocent victims threaten the belief in a just world? Evidence from a
modified stroop task. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 79, 165-173. 10.1037//0022-3514.79.2.165.
Hafer, C., & Bѐgue, L. (2005). Experimental research on just-world theory: Problems,
developments, and future challenges. Psychological Bulletin, 131, 128-167.
Hallgren, K. A. (2012). Computing inter-rater reliability for observational data: An overview and
tutorial. Tutorials in Quantitative Methods for Psychology, 8, 23-34.
Holtz, P., & Wagner, W. (2009). Essentialism and attribution of monstrosity in racist discourse:
Right-wing internet postings about Africans and Jews. Journal of Community & Applied
Social Psycology, 19, 411-425.
Human Rights Watch. (2013, February 28). Indonesia: Religious minorities targets of rising Retrieved June 3, 2013, from
Victim blaming within religious groups 25 (2013, April 04). Obeying the husband is the key to paradise. Retrieved
March 9, 2017, from
Komnas HAM. (2015). Laporan Akhir Tahun Pelapor Khusus Kebebasan Beragama Dan
Berkeyakinan Komisi Nasional Hak Asasi Manusia Republik Indonesia 2015. Jakarta:
Komnas HAM.
Mawuntyas, D. (2012, September 2). Bagaimana Kronologi Syiah Masuk Sampang?
Retrieved June 12, 2016, from
Muzadi, A. H. (2015). Laporan Kajian 2015: Pengaruh Jaringan Islam Lokal dan Trans-Nasional
terhadap Instabilitas Negara. Unpublished research report. Jakarta: Bidang Sosial
Keagamaan Wantimpres.
Murti, A. S. (2015, July 10). Camat akui segel markas Ahmadiyah,
Retrieved January 26, 2017, from
Nuh, N. M. (2011). Paham Madrais (AKUR) di Cigugur Kuningan. In Rosidi (ed.),
Perkembangan paham keagamaan lokal di Indonesia (pp. 17-58). Jakarta: Puslitbang
Kehidupan Keagamaan Badan Litbang dan Diklat Kementerian Agama RI.
Putra, I. E., & Wagner, W. (2017). Putting prejudice in interreligious context: When meta-
prejudice and majority-minority status play a role. Journal of Community and Applied
Social Psychology.
Victim blaming within religious groups 26
Putra, I. E., Mashuri, A., & Zaduqisti, E. (2015). Demonising the victim: Seeking the answer for
how a group as the violent victim is blamed. Psychology and Developing Societies, 27, 31-
Putra, I. E., Holtz, P., Pitaloka, A., Kronberger, N., & Arbiyah, N. (2016). When positive
essentialization about human nature is used: An attempt to reduce the stigma of
Indonesian Communist Party descent. Manuscript submitted for publication.
Rufaedah, A. & Hanifah, S. (2015). Peran perempuan dalam rekonsiliasi konflik Sunni-Syiah di
Sampang. Unpublished research report. Jakarta: Asian Muslim Action Network.
Sebby, R. A., & Johnston, L. M. (2012). Effects of victim innocence and BJW (belief in a just
world) upon derogation of an ingroup/outgroup victim. Psychology Research, 2(2), 135-
Sindic, D., & Reicher, S. D. (2009). 'Our way of life is worth defending': Testing a model of
attitudes towards superordinate group membership through a study of Scot's attitudes
towards the Britain. European Journal of Social Psychology, 39, 114-129.
Tajfel, H. (1982). Social psychology of intergroup relations.Annual Review of Psychology, 33, 1-
Tajfel, H. & Turner, J.C. (1979).An integrative theory of intregroup conflict. In W.G. Austin and
S. Worchel (eds), The social psychology of intergroup relations (pp. 33-47). Montley,
CA: Brooks/Cole.
Wagner, W. (1995). Social representations, group affiliation, and projection: Knowing the limits
of validity. European Journal of Social Psychology, 25, 125-139.
Victim blaming within religious groups 27
Wagner, W., Holtz, P., & Kashima, Y. (2009). Construction and deconstruction of essence in
representing social groups: Identity projects, stereotyping, and racism. Journal for the
Theory of Social Behaviours, 39 (3), 363-383.
Yildiz, A. A., & Verkuyten, M. (2011). Inclusive victmhood: Social identity and the
politicization of collective trauma among Turkeys's Alevis in Western Europe. Peace and
Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, 17, 243-269.
... Therefore, the group is considered the most victimized religious minority (Djamin, 2014;Schäfer, 2018a). This condition is reflected by the increased violence and discrimination against them (Putra, Holtz, & Rufaedah, 2018). The Ahmadiyya members are currently treated differently by the state and other religious Islamic groups than in the period before 1998 (HRW, 2016). ...
... This article also has an academic contribution and recommendations. It provides answers to what justifies the Ahmadiyya victimization and the actors and institutions involved (Putra et al., 2018). Accordingly, this article analyzes the actors' dynamics in terms of violating the Ahmadiyya minority group (Ahmadis) ...
Full-text available
This article discusses the victimization of the Ahmadiyya minority community in Indonesia. This article can be considered as one of the crucial studies that analyze the problems faced by the Ahmadiyah minority group in Indonesia due to violence. This study's importance relates to academic efforts in understanding the complexities of the Ahmadiyya community's victimization in Indonesia. This study is also essential in providing input or recommendations for the state, social elements (NGOs), and the Ahmadiyah group. This article proposes the theory of violence as an analytical framework for understanding violence against the Ahmadiyah group. This article provides vital objectives in understanding two aspects of the victimization process of the Ahmadiyya group. First, justifications for the victimization is based on state and religious decrees. Second, the victimization process involves actors and institutions. Besides, this study was conducted using a systematic qualitative review as a method. The data has been collected through extensive reviews on previous studies, ethnographic reports, institutional reports, NGO reports, government, and media.
... With this, rather than diffusing the blame to a specific subject (Wodak, 1991), Suu Kyi chose to convey that this was everybody's responsibility. By doing so, she then did not need to find reasons to justify such killings (Bandura, 1999) or blame the victims (Putra et al., 2018). ...
Full-text available
In December 2019, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) accused the Myanmar government of genocide against Rohingya Muslims. Represented by Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar authorities denied such accusations. To understand how a political leader can deny ingroup wrongdoings, we unpacked Suu Kyi’s ICJ speech and analyzed her defensive rhetorical style through critical narrative analysis. We aimed to identify and describe the denial strategies Suu Kyi used as well as how she maintained a positive ingroup image to support her position. Our findings showed that Suu Kyi engaged in interpretative denial of genocide by arguing that genocide cannot occur when there is armed conflict, that there were victims and perpetrators on both sides, and that misconducts by law enforcement had been addressed. To maintain the ingroup’s positive image, she portrayed Myanmar as moral by emphasizing the government’s knowledge of ethical standards and laws, as well as their support for peace and justice. By examining political discourse used by a national leader internationally renowned for supporting human rights, our findings shed light on the dynamic, constructive nature of denial. Theoretical and applied contributions to understanding denial of ingroup wrongdoing are discussed. (Free access, click DOI)
... Simon and Klandermans (2001) held that prejudice constitutes the emotional underpinnings of so-called politicised collective identity, that is, the form of collective identity that underlines people's deliberate willingness to become involved in a power struggle. A study conducted by Putra, Holtz, and Rufaedah (2018) has shown that when the perpetrators of hate crimes are considered as ingroup members and the victims as members of a heretical group, the victims will likely be blamed: the assault is justified due to the heretical group's existence. ...
Politics in the current era are replete with unreliable media stories which lack evidence, sometimes disparagingly dubbed ‘fake news’. A survey on a sample of Muslims in Indonesia (N = 518) in this work found that participants’ endorsement of collective action in of support issues with little to no empirical evidence (i.e., post-truth collective action) increased as a function of their belief in fake news and prejudice against the outgroup (i.e., non-Muslims). Belief in fake news stemmed from participants’ generic and specific conspiratorial thinking, whereas prejudice was positively predicted by relative Muslim prototypicality, denoting how much Muslims in Indonesia view that their group is more representative than non-Muslims of the superordinate Indonesian identity that encompasses both groups. Additionally, our findings revealed that generic conspiratorial thinking and relative Muslim prototypicality were positively predicted by collective narcissism, which in turn spurred participants’ support for collective action by augmenting belief in fake news.
... The current study presents a number of findings based on data collected from Indonesian Muslims: our sample included responses from a wide range of respondents, from members of a hardline Islamist group to ordinary non-affiliated members of the public. And while Indonesia is a country that is currently experiencing issues with religious extremism (Muluk et al., 2013;Burhani, 2014;Putra and Sukabdi, 2014;Arifianto, 2018;Putra et al., 2018), we want to emphasize that the purpose of the present article was not to address extremist behaviors or sentiment, which were not examined directly in this paper. Rather we sought to test specific components of a theoretical model that links self-defining events, identity fusion with a group, and the potential high levels of fusion have to foster extreme sacrifice (under specific conditions). ...
Full-text available
A growing body of evidence suggests that two distinct forms of group alignment are possible: identification and fusion (the former asserts that group and personal identity are distinct, while the latter asserts group and personal identities are functionally equivalent and mutually reinforcing). Among highly fused individuals, group identity taps directly into personal agency and so any attack on the group is perceived as a personal attack and motivates a willingness to fight and possibly even die as a defensive response. As such, identity fusion is relevant in explaining violent extremism, including suicidal terrorist attacks. Identity fusion is theorized to arise as a result from experiences which are (1) perceived as shared and (2) transformative, however evidence for this relationship remains limited. Here, we present a pre-registered study in which we examine the role of transformativeness and perceived sharedness of group-defining events in generating identity fusion. We find that both of these factors are predictive of identity fusion but that the relationship with transformativeness was more consistent than perceived sharedness across analyses in a sample of Indonesian Muslims.
... Group essentialization provides the basis for considering all outgroup members as personally responsible, making them the rightful targets of scorn and blame (Hafer, 2000;Niemi & Young, 2016). This process is also at work when majority Sunni Muslims aggress believers of the minority Ahmadiyya Muslims in Indonesia (Putra, Holtz, & Rufaedah, 2018). ...
Since 1965, in Indonesia, people labelled as communists and their descendants have been mistreated. Recently, there has been an issue to apologize to them, but up until now, no official apology has been offered by the Indonesian government. The present study aims to understand how communism is perceived in Indonesia and why communism attributes labelled to a person can lead to negative effects, such as social exclusions. We interviewed 23 Muslims living in Jakarta (i.e., majority group) and used a thematic analysis to organize and describe the data. We found that Muslims who see communists as non‐believers view communist members as dangerous and a threat for the unity of the Republic of Indonesia. Among participants with such beliefs, the past maltreatments to accused communists are justified and legitimate; any apology toward the victims is considered not needed. The findings are discussed in the context of collective blaming and group essentialization, and ways to solve the problems are suggested.
In February 2021, the Myanmar military carried out a coup d'etat, which was then followed by a wave of civil protests. The present study aims to understand the support among people from Southeast Asia (specifically Indonesia) for the people of Myanmar who are fighting against a military coup. The data were collected from Muslim participants (N = 209) and non‐Muslim participants (N = 192) in Indonesia. The findings indicate that the perceived country's internal problems, support for human rights in Myanmar, and the perceived country's important position in Southeast Asia are among the strongest predictors of the intention to support collective movements in other countries. Considerably, lack of empathy and how the victim/disadvantaged groups are perceived, like whether they have a negative rapport in treating other groups, also play a key role in the endorsement of solidarity. It is suggested that the dynamic relationships between these factors need to be considered to find ways to foster humanitarian solidarity. Please refer to the Supplementary Material section to find this article's Community and Social Impact Statement.
Full-text available
This study aims to reveal the linguistic violence in The Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI) fatwa text on Ahmadiyah. Some words contain linguistic violence such as “deviant”, “infidel”, and “a state threaten”. The data in this study are in the form of words, phrases, sentences, and discourses that come from the MUI fatwa texts in 1980 and 2005 on Ahmadiyah. This study concludes two forms of linguistic violence in those fatwa’s, namely violence in the subtle form and the abusive form. In the subtle form of linguistic violence, language is operated to dominate other parties. Meanwhile, language is used as an offensive expression carried out consciously in a discourse in the abusive form. Language is used to attack other parties, such as labeling a heretical. Language is also used as a tool to hurt others.Abstrak:Penelitian ini bertujuan mengungkap kekerasan linguistik dalam teks fatwa Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI) tentang Ahmadiyah. Dalam teks tersebut terdapat kata-kata yang mengandung unsur kekerasan linguistik seperti “sesat menyesatkan”, “berada di luar Islam” dan “bahaya bagi ketertiban dan keamanan negara.” Data dalam penelitian ini berupa kata, frasa, kalimat, dan wacana yang berasal dari teks fatwa MUI tahun 1980 dan 2005 tentang Ahmadiyah tersebut. Penelitian ini menyimpulkan bahwa terdapat dua bentuk kekerasan linguistik pada kedua fatwa tentang Ahmadiyah tersebut. Pertama, kekerasan linguistik bentuk halus (subtle form). Kedua, kekerasan linguistik bentuk kasar (abusive form). Pada kekerasan linguistik bentuk halus (subtle form), bahasa dioperasikan sebagai wahana untuk mendominasi pihak lain. Sementara pada kekerasan linguistik bentuk kasar (abusive form) bahasa digunakan sebagai ekspresi ofensif yang dilakukan secara sadar dalam sebuah wacana. Dalam kekerasan linguistik bentuk kasar, bahasa dimanfaatkan untuk menyerang pihak lain seperti memberi label sesat menyesatkan. Selain itu, bahasa juga digunakan sebagai sarana untuk menyakiti pihak lain.
The concept of al-wala’ wa-l-bara’ (loyalty and disavowal) has become the ideology of modern Salafism; it is used to justify unfriendly relationships with non-Muslims. This concept is usually implemented by reserving love only for fellow Muslims and showing insularity towards non-Muslims. What is the ideological concept that guides some Muslims in their relationship with groups that are considered heretics? This article intends to scrutinize the theological matrix used by vigilante groups in their anti-heresy campaign or attacks on the Ahmadiyya. It also aims to determine why some people believe that persecuting the Ahmadiyya is a theologically justifiable idea. What theological and ideological reasons can be used to justify attacks against the Ahmadiyya community? How do they cope with the conflict between divine law and human/state law? This article argues that instead of feeling guilty, the perpetrators of faith-based violence often feel they have just fulfilled a good religious duty. Committing violence against religious groups deemed heretics is believed to be more than al-amr bi al-màrūf wa al-nahy `an al-munkar (“commanding right and forbidding wrong”)—it is a jihad. Violence is seen not as an illegal act, but as a “virtue” or an effort to save them from the punishment of God in Hell. In justifying the breaching of state law, the idea of a hierarchy in the law is constructed, i.e. state/human law is hierarchically lower than divine law, so attacking the Ahmadiyya is seen as a transgression of human law for the sake of upholding the divine view.
Full-text available
Samples of two hundred forty-five majority Sunny Muslims, 87 Ahmadiyya Muslims, and 145 Christians were used to investigate the determinants and mediators of prejudice in interreligious context in Indonesia. First, the study extends the idea of in-group and out-group metaprejudice; both of which were found to mediate the relationship between perceived quality of intergroup relationship and personal prejudice. Second, we expected that majority members are more likely to reject a minority and that a minority is more likely to more strongly reject another minority than the majority for self-serving reasons. Additionally, the Sunni majority will prejudice and reject the Ahmadiyya minority more than the Christian minority due to the strained religious relation between the two Muslim groups. The hypotheses were confirmed. The findings are discussed in the context of stereotyping, and prejudice dynamics in other intergroup conflicts and ways of coping with such conflict are suggested.
Full-text available
The current study aims to understand victim blaming of Ahmadiyya group by majority Sunni Islam in Indonesia. We included ingroup essentialisation, outgroup essentialisation, identity undermining and belief in conspiracy theory as predictors of victim blaming. Results of a survey among 147 Muslims majority Sunni Islam shows that the relationship between identity undermining and victim blaming is stronger for individuals holding ingroup de-essentialisation compared to those with ingroup essentialisation. Moreover, belief in conspiracy theory was found to mediate the effect of the interaction variable of identity undermining and ingroup essentialisation on victim blaming. In addition, outgroup essentialisation was found correlated with belief in conspiracy theory but did not play a significant role to moderate the effect of identity undermining on belief in conspiracy theory and victim blaming. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.
Full-text available
This chapter introduces the common ingroup identity model as a means of reducing intergroup bias. This model proposes that bias can be reduced by factors that transform members' perceptions of group boundaries from “us” and “them” to a more inclusive “we”. From this perspective, several features specified by the contact hypothesis (e.g. co-operative interaction) facilitate more harmonious intergroup interactions, at least in part, because they contribute to the development of a common ingroup identity. In this chapter, we describe laboratory and field studies that are supportive of the model; we also relate the model to earlier work on aversive racism.
Full-text available
Projecting essence onto a social category means to think, talk, and act as if the category were a discrete natural kind and as if its members were all endowed with the same immutable attributes determined by the category's essence. Essentializing may happen implicitly or on purpose in representing ingroups and outgroups. We argue that essentializing is a versatile representational tool (a) that is used to create identity in groups with chosen membership in order to make the group appear as a unitary entity, (b) that outsiders often draw on a group's essentialist self-construal in their judgements about the groups, (c) that judgements about members of forced social categories are often informed by essentialist thinking that easily switches to discrimination and racism, and (d) that under certain historical and political conditions members of social categories and groups may contest their essentialized identity, such as parts of the feminist movement, or that they may attempt to reconstruct an essentialized identity, such as parts of the homosexual movement or the largely defunct European nobility. Besides explicit political and power interests, we see communication processes and language use as a tacit force driving essentialization of social categories.
According to the BJW (belief in a just world) theory, a person is more likely to derogate a victim when that victim threatens their BJW. An innocent victim and a victim who is more similar (an ingroup member) are more threatening to a person’s BJW than a non-innocent outgroup victim with such a threat resulting in greater victim derogation. In the present study, group membership and victim innocence were manipulated. Group membership was based on status (college students vs. non-college students). College students (n = 162) were randomly assigned to either a BJW threating or BJW confirming condition. A 2 × 2 × 2 ANOVA (analysis of variance) found an interaction between the BJW manipulation and group membership; participants whose BJW was threatened derogated the non-student (outgroup) more than the control. Contrary to expected results, the college student (ingroup) victim was not as highly derogated as the outgroup member. We suggest that more subtle social categories (not just differences associated with traditional racial or ethnic prejudice) may influence the ways individuals defend or reestablish their BJW.
Religious diversity and pluralism is commonly understood within the context of the relation between various religious traditions, not within a single religious tradition. This limitation of the boundary of religious pluralism could overlook the fact that conflict within a single tradition can be bitterer and more disastrous than conflict with other religions. In the last decade, for instance, the Ahmadis in Indonesia have become victims of constant attacks. This article, therefore, intends to study the place of the Ahmadiyya in the context of religious pluralism in Indonesia by answering the following questions: Why was the treatment of the Ahmadis in recent years by Muslims more vitriolic than their treatment of non-Muslims? What is the nature and quality of life for people who have been excluded from a ‘normal’ religious identity in a time when religious attachment is a necessary fact for that society? Why did the attacks on the Ahmadiyya occur in the present regime, not during the past authoritarian one? This article argues that the charge of heresy issued by Muslim institutions put the Ahmadiyya in liminal status; they are in the zone of indistinction between Muslims and non-Muslims. This makes them vulnerable to persecution since they have been deprived of their rights as Muslims, while their rights as non-Muslims are still suspended. Non-Muslims, particularly ahl al-kitāb (People of the Book), have been accepted theologically in Muslim society, but there is no place of tolerance for heretics. The rise of intolerance in Indonesia parallels the rise of religious conservatism after the fall of Suharto in 1998.
Using the social identity perspective, this study examines how a collective trauma is used in creating a coherent and unifying Alevi identity and a sense of shared victimhood. The focus is on the Sivas Massacre in 1993 in which the hotel Madımak in the Turkish city of Sivas was set on fire and 37 Alevi intellectuals died in the flames. This article focuses on the Confederation of European Alevi Unions because it is not so much Alevis in Turkey but, rather, those in Europe that try to establish a common Alevi identity and to address the oppression and discrimination of Alevis in Turkey. However, Alevi organizations face a serious challenge when it comes to unification and unity because the diversity among the Alevis is substantial and there is a lack of consensus about what it means to be an Alevi. This article shows how narratives of the massacre function as political capital in drawing group boundaries, defining intergroup relationships, and creating a sense of inclusive victimhood with other aggrieved and oppressed groups. The analysis indicates that the consequences of shared victimhood do not have to be violent and destructive, but might also lead to increased solidarity.