Chief Security Minister Wiranto speaks at his office on Friday (12/05). (Antara Photo/Akbar Nugroho Gumay)

Gov't Won't Compromise on HTI: Chief Security Minister


MAY 12, 2017

Jakarta. Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia preaching has obviously been harmful to state sovereignty, a senior minister said on Friday (12/05) in a remark aimed at avoiding what he called "misperceptions" of a planned ban on the radical Islamist group.

Controversies have been arising since Monday, when the government announced the plan to disband HTI, a non-violent organization that seeks to establish an Islamic caliphate.

Chief Security Minister Wiranto said the plan to ban HTI has strong grounds.

"Based on our long-term observations, they have been meddling in politics with their preaching. This poses a threat to our political sovereignty," Wiranto told the press at his office in Central Jakarta.

"We must be politically sovereign. If not, how can we unite? If we're not united, how can we create a just and prosperous society? Political sovereignty is very important, HTI obviously poses a threat to it," he said.

The government has earlier said it was ready to put HTI on trial, as it obtained strong evidence from police that the organization's activities contravene Indonesia's state ideology and the Constitution.

Wiranto cited police reports against HTI, but declined to elaborate further on the legal process against the group.

"Based on police reports, their existence has drawn widespread opposition from various groups in various regions. Several regions have even seen horizontal conflicts," he said.

Last month, police refused to grant HTI a permit to hold an international forum in South Jakarta, citing security concerns over mounting public opposition.

"If we let them exist, they will endanger our national security, as [their ideology] will become more widespread and will also hamper our national development. We won't compromise," Wiranto said.

Hizbut Tahrir has been present in Indonesia since 1983. It aims at establishing a pan-Islamic theocracy in all Muslim countries.

It has been banned in at least 20 countries, Wiranto said, mentioning Egypt, Jordan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudia Arabia and Turkey.

In a similar tone, State Intelligence Agency chief Budi Gunawan said the government seeks to disband the organization through a court proceeding, since its ideology is seen as contravening the Constitution and Pancasila.

"In the interest of the state and its sovereignty, disbandment of HTI is legally valid," Budi said.

"Indonesia certainly doesn't have to tolerate any anti-Pancasila movements or civil society organizations that challenge the state ideology," Budi said, adding that for the sake of the national interest "emergency rules can be applied in a situation of danger" to maintain the unity of the country.