A man is seen passing the offices of Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia in Jakarta in this May 2017 file photo. (Antara Photo/Adeng Bustomi)

Gov't Urges Public Not to Be Provoked by Actions of Banned Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia


NOVEMBER 01, 2018

Jakarta. The government has called for unity and asked the nation not to succumb to provocations by the banned mass organization Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia.

This followed a meeting between Chief Security Minister Wiranto and related government ministries and institutions in Jakarta on Thursday to discuss a planned protest rally against the burning of the organization's flag by members of Banser, the youth wing of Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia's largest Muslim organization, at a gathering in Garut, West Java, last month.

The flag displays the tawhid, or Islamic declaration of the Oneness of God, written in Arabic script in white against a black background, or sometimes with the colors reversed.

West Java Police confirmed that members of Banser burned a Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) flag but said the investigation was still ongoing. Banser and Nahdlatul Ulama have both since issued public apologies for the incident.

However, calls went out on social media platforms and popular messaging application WhatsApp this week for hardline Muslims to participate in the Defend Tawhid 211 rally in Central Jakarta on Friday.

Hizb ut-Tahrir, which means "Party of Liberation" in Arabic, is a global Islamist movement that seeks to unite all Muslim nations in a caliphate to "resume the Islamic way of life."

The organization is banned in several Muslim-majority countries, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

The Indonesian government disbanded HTI in July last year, but the organization fought the decision in the Jakarta State Administrative Court, which in May this year rejected its plea for a revocation of the ban.

"We urge the public to maintain national unity and not to succumb to the provocations of HTI, which was legally disbanded through a decree issued by the minister of justice and human rights on July 19, 2017," the government said in a statement on Thursday.

The government said Friday's planned rally was irrelevant against the background of the current situation, with the nation still mourning recent natural disasters that hit parts of West Nusa Tenggara and Central Sulawesi, killing thousands, as well as this week's crash of Lion Air flight JT-610.

Religious leaders have meanwhile encouraged all sides to resolve the issue peacefully and to allow the law to take its course in a fair and transparent manner.