Besides taking all Aceh’s resources, Suharto also conducted Aceh Muslim genocide, and the most famous was DOM or Red Web Operation (Operasi Jaring Merah, 1989-1998). Many DOM experts agreed that the brutality done in Aceh was also the same as what Serbia Militia did to Bosnian Muslims in 1990’s. The wide NAD was only a mass burial of its people. The Aceh Muslims who lived in Islam’s dignity for years had been insulted by Suharto.
Al-Chaidar, an-Aceh-born expert, stated, “If Cambodia under Pol Pot regime had a famous The Killing Fields, Aceh was also known as Skull Valley. In Aceh, there were 35 point of huge massacres—this was more than Cambodia’s killing fields.”
One of the big cases in Aceh was the tragedy of Tengku Bantaqiah, the leader od Dayah (traditional Islamic boarding school)) Babul Nurillah in Beutong Ateuh on July 23rd, 1999. Ironically, though DOM had been officially stopped, but the brutality in Aceh never ceased. Tengku Bantaqiah with his students were the proof. The stepping down of Suharto affected nothing in Aceh. The Suharto’s inheritances such as Habibie, Abdurrahman Wahid, Megawati and Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in fact kept the system.
Feri Kusuma, one of the activists of Komisi untuk Orang Hilang dan Korban Tindak Kekerasan Aceh (Missing and Abused People in Aceh) wrote in his article titled “Jubah Putih di Beutong Ateuh), “Beutong Ateuh had a long story. This region was developed since Dutch colonialism, there people of Beutong Ateuh testified. Beutong Ateuh consist of four villages; Blang Meurandeh, Blang Pu’uk, Kuta Teungoh, and Babak Suak. Its geographical condition was great for leisure. There a river through Beutong between two mountains. The mountains in Beutong were Bukit Barisan formation…”
Two years after the tragedy, Beutong Ateuh was in a horrible condition. Not only in Beutong Ateuh, but also in the entire NAD regions. Poverty was everywhere, instead Aceh was a prosperous land. Beutong Ateuh lied in the border of Central and West Aceh. From Ule Jalan to Beutong Ateuh, we would pass Batalyon post 113/Jaya Sakti in oil-palm garden. In this area, exactly in the gate, there was board titled “TNI WAR EXERCISE AREA”. About 10 km of the building, there was also board titled “SIMPANG CAMAT” pointed a settlement. Yet, no houses in this area but big trees and wide canyon. This jungle was used as a hiding place by Cut Nyak Dien.
Beutong Ateuh was not really different from Simpang Camat. In the middle of the jungle, pale white cloth waved in Dayah area. Mosque dome, some house roofs, and prayer meeting place were in front of the Beutong river.
Tengku Bantaqiah founded an Islamic boarding school at Blang Meurandeh in 1982, and named it Babul al Nurillah. Abu Bantaqiah, so that his students called him, was a famously-respected-scholar. Dayah Babul Al Nurillah taught religion value, self-defense material art, and also gardening many vegetables to be self-consumed. The Dayah activities were also no different with other Islamic school in other regions in Indonesia. Beside the student who lived in the school, there were many people came and lived for a while during the vacation to learn.
Most of the Dayah students were ex-criminal. “According to Tengku Bantaqiah, it’s more useful to ask the people outside the mosque. This might be boring, but Islam was opened to anyone.” Feri Kusumah said. Bataqiah was a tough scholar, and humble. He refused to join MUI (Islamic Scholar Union). Bantaqiah didn’t belong to any political party, that’s why he was often accused and slandered as wrong Islam with his famous title “Gerombolan Jubah Putih.”
Aceh government tried to controlled Bantaqiah by giving him Islamic boarding school. But the location in in the Beutong Bawah, far from Babul al Nurilah. Bataqiah refused any bribes, and this made his relationship with government turned bad. He was accused as one of the GAM officials and in 1992 he was imprisoned. (continued)