WikiLeaks ‘Saudi Cables’ reveal secret push to stop Ahmadiyya in Indonesia

Whistle-blowing website Wikileaks has published more than 60,000 secret documents from Saudi Arabia and said that it had more than half a million additional documents that it will be releasing in the upcoming weeks as part of the “Saudi Cables”.

The secretive organization, headed by 43-year-old Australian Julian Assange, was launched in December 2006. The organization facilitates the anonymous leaking of secret information through its website to expose the wrongdoing of governments and corporations.

The Saudi Cables include identification cards, visa requests and summaries of news media coverage of the kingdom. The most informative are diplomatic cables from Saudi embassies around the world to the foreign ministry, many of which are then passed along to the office of the king for final decisions.

The files, in Arabic, have mostly received a minimal amount attention in the United States press. However, multiple independent journalists around the world have been translating the documents to uncover revelations. Two of the cables reveal the secret role Saudi Arabia has been playing in stopping the spread of the persecuted Ahmadiyya Muslim sect, specifically in Indonesia.

Late Saudi Crown Prince Naif bin Abdil Aziz

One of the cables which is dated March 14, 2012 and is written by the late Saudi Crown Prince Naif bin Abdil Aziz in reply to the several letters and reports received by the Prince from the Head of the Royal Court, Minister of Foreign Affairs and The Saudi Embassy in Jakarta relating to the activities of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Indonesia.

The cable reads that “the issue of the Ahmadiyya was discussed by the preparatory committee of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs which came up with a plan to set up practical programs with the help of  the Foreign Ministry, Ministry of the Islamic Affairs and the Supreme Islamic Council of Indonesia to stop the spread of Ahmadiyya in Indonesia.

The cable further reads that “Saudi Embassy in Jakarta should be instructed to explain the danger of Ahmadiyya to the Indonesian Government”.

On 23rd April 2012 just a month after the letter from then Crown Prince Naif bin Abdil Aziz a mob of Islamic extremists brutally attacked an Ahmadi mosque in the village of Cipakat in the town of Singaparna in West Java, Indonesia. The attack was attended by at least 80 people affiliated with local Islamic extremist movements, the building was repeatedly hit with rocks and stones, while some of the assailants stormed into the building destroying objects.

File - In this Tuesday, May 11, 2010 file photo, Saudi King Abdullah bin Abd al-Aziz, salutes as he arrives to the opening of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) consultative summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain said Wednesday, March 5, 2014 that they have recalled their ambassadors from the Gulf nation of Qatar over its alleged breach of a regional security deal in the clearest sign yet of the rift among Gulf Arab countries over Islamists in the region. Tensions have been brewing between Gulf countries and Qatar since Egyptians ousted President Hosni Mubarak and Qatarís massive financial and public support for his successor, Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, stood at odds with the UAE and Saudi Arabiaís policies. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File)
Former Saudi King Abdullah bin Abd al-Aziz

The second cable is from the former Saudi King “Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud” and is in reply to the first cable by the Crown Prince “Naif bin Abdil Aziz”.

In the cable which is dated 15 May 2012 the King recommends that the Crown Prince take following actions concerning the Ahmadiyya in Indonesia.

  1. Monitor and follow up on the developments occurring in Indonesia concerning the Ahmadiyya Community by the Kingdom’s Embassy in (Jakarta).
  2. (Have) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs advise the international Islamic organizations to issue a statement that clarifies where they stand on this (Ahmadiyya) community.
  3. Follow up with Ministry of Islamic Affairs and ask Preachers for Endowments, Call and Guidance and the Muslim World League to warn against this (Ahmadiyya) community and its ideologies, while avoiding violence against its members.
  4. Have The Kingdom’s Embassy in (Jakarta) continue its support of the Supreme Islamic Council of Indonesia for Islamic Propagation (Islamic Dawa) in order to face this (Ahmadiyya) community and inform the Indonesian government of their position (beliefs).

The author of the first cable Crown Prince Naif bin Abdul Aziz who served as Deputy Prime Minister and President of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs died in June, 2012 while the author of the second cable King Abdullah died aged 90 in January, 2015.  After his death his half-brother Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud became the King of Saudi Arabia. And In April 2015 King Salman appointed Prince Naif bin Abdul Aziz’s son Muhammad bin Nayef as Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia which makes him first in line to the throne of Saudi Arabia.

Hardline Islamic groups in Indonesia want the Ahmadiyya Muslim sect to be banned – they say it deviates from the tenets of Islam, and therefore has no place in Indonesian society.

Over the past few years these hardliners have become increasingly vocal in their demands – holding rallies in central Jakarta and airing their views in the media.

In August 2010 then Indonesian Minister of Religious Affairs Suryadharma Ali was quoted as saying that Ahmadiyya “must be disbanded immediately”. If not, “problems would continue”.

In February 2011, a violent mob bludgeoned three Ahmadi Muslims to death. Since then, houses and mosques have been attacked and protesters have vowed to escalate the violence if they do not get their way.

It is these Hardline Islamic groups that the Saudi Government wants to use to exert pressure on the Indonesian government to restrict the Ahmadiyya activities in Indonesia.

Another separate cable notes various items of payment to a range of publications in Indonesia, with amounts ranging from $US3,000 to $10,000. There is talk about expanding the involvement of the Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information via massive subscriptions to newspapers such as Kompas and the Jakarta Post.