Jakarta. The National Police have pressed charges against 23 members of Muslim organization Khilafatul Muslimin, which allegedly seeks to establish a caliphate.
Most of the suspects took part in coordinated motorcycle rallies across several provinces promoting a caliphate last month.
"A total of 23 people have been named suspects to date," National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Ahmad Ramadhan told reporters in Jakarta on Tuesday.
Among those in custody is group leader Abdul Qodir Baraja, a former terrorism convict who controlled the organization from his hometown in the province of Lampung on the southern tip of Sumatra Island.
The suspects are being detained separately, including six in Central Java, six in Jakarta, five in Lampung, five in West Java, and one in East Java, Ramadhan said.
They are charged under the 1946 security law for allegedly spreading false information and inciting unrest. The charges carry a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison.
Ramadhan said counterterrorism squad Detachment 88 is involved to assist the provincial police in the investigation.
Police are also investigating reports that the organization runs around 30 schools in its attempts to spread its caliphate ideas, the officer said.
The group came under public scrutiny after its members in motorcycle convoys staged rallies in several cities carrying banners supportive of the establishment of an Islamic state on May 29.
Its leader, Abdul, was arrested in Lampung and flown to Jakarta last week.
Videos circulating on social media accounts show his followers carry a banner that reads “Embrace the rise of the Islamic caliphate” during the May 29 rally.
The group was being investigated for a potential violation of the 1945 Constitution and the national ideology of Pancasila because “they incited hatred towards the legitimate government” and intended to uphold sharia in the government system, police have said.
During a press conference prior to his arrest, Abdul denied any wrongdoing and claimed that Khilafatul Muslimin was founded to unite Muslims and non-Muslims in this diverse nation.
He also claimed that since its establishment in 1997, the group has drawn millions of followers across the globe.