By Olivia Rondonuwu
JAKARTA, June 19 (Reuters) - About 200 people led by Muslim hardliners have sealed off at least two mosques and some schools on Java island belonging to the Ahmadiyya sect, regarded as heretical by many followers of Islam, police said on Thursday.
Members of two Muslim groups, Ahlusunnah wal Jamaah and United Islamic Students (Hisab) watched as people from the local community locked the door of a mosque in the Campaka area some 100 km (62 miles) southeast of Jakarta on Wednesday.
They also spray-painted "this mosque can’t be used" on its walls, Campaka police chief Akhmad Yani said.
"We let the people close it down ... we can only provide security and ensure there is no violence, burning or anarchism," Yani told Reuters, adding that police wanted to avoid meddling in the conflict.
No one was injured in the incident and the Ahmadis can pray in their homes, he said.
Indonesian police have been criticised by human rights groups in the past for frequently failing to intervene in religion-based disputes, even when one side or the other appears to be violating the law.
Police said the local community also closed down an Ahmadiyya mosque and schools in the nearby Cibeber area after the Ahmadis refused to close their mosques and schools.
Campaka has a large Ahmadiyya population who were targeted in attacks in 2005 when about 2,000 people from neighbouring areas destroyed their mosques, homes and shops.
Fears of a hardline backlash against the Ahmadiyya have grown since the government of the most populous Muslim country issued a ministerial decree this month prohibiting the sect’s followers from spreading their teachings.
Vice-president Jusuf Kalla has said the government does not plan to ban the sect and Ahmadiyya are allowed to worship in their homes and mosques, but they must not preach or try to convert others.
However, Islamic hardliners in Indonesia want a complete ban on the sect, saying its teachings deviate from fundamental Islamic tenets.
Militant cleric Abu Bakar Bashir had warned there could be communal conflict if the government doesn’t fully ban the sect, estimated to have between 200,000 to 2 million followers in Indonesia.
The Ahmadis refuse to accept the Prophet Mohammad as Islam’s final prophet and say Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who founded the sect in India in the 19th century, is a prophet and messiah.
Moderates in predominantly Muslim Indonesia have criticised the government for not taking a tougher stance on militant Islamist groups following several recent incidents in which places of worship were damaged and individuals intimidated.
A government team tasked with monitoring religious groups had previously recommended that Ahmadiyya should be banned following an announcement by Indonesia’s Ulema Council, the country’s Islamic authority, branding the group "deviant".
Indonesia has a population of 226 million, of which about 85 percent are Muslim. Most of them are moderate, and the constitution grants freedom of faith. (Editing by Sugita Katyal and Jerry Norton)