President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo said on Wednesday (21/02) that he understands the concerns of civil society groups over a recent amendment to the MD3 law. (Reuters Photo/Bobby Yip)

Jokowi Welcomes Leaders of Hardline Islamist Groups to State Palace on Idul Fitri


JUNE 25, 2017

Jakarta. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo welcomed leaders from hardline Islamist organizations Guardians of the Indonesian Ulema Council’s Fatwas, or GNPF-MUI, and the Islamic Defenders' Front, or FPI, to the State Palace on Sunday (25/06).

GNPF-MUI's leader Bachtiar Nasir and deputy M. Zaitun Rasmin, along with FPI head Muhsin Alatas, met with the president in the afternoon, after the Eid prayer.

Chief Security Minister Wiranto, Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin and State Secretary Pratikno were also present at the meeting.

"We encouraged Pak Nasir and associates to strengthen the silahturahim [communal bonds]," Pratikno said, as quoted by state-run news agency Antara.

"The meeting was requested by them," the secretary said, adding that the president believes the State Palace should welcome anyone, without exception.

In the meeting, GNPF-MUI reportedly expressed support for government efforts in developing the country, and asked for a direct line of communication with Jokowi in the future. It is not clear whether the president plans to approve that request.

Both organizations staged a series of rallies in Jakarta during the capital's gubernatorial election earlier this year and called for incumbent Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama's resignation and imprisonment for blasphemy charges. Last month, Basuki, a close friend of the president and his former deputy governor of Jakarta, was sentenced to two years in prison.

Anies Baswedan, Jakarta Governor-elect and Jokowi's former education minister, visited the president earlier on Sunday. Deputy Governor-elect Sandiaga Uno, along with failed candidates Agus Harimurty Yudhoyono and brother Edhie Baskoro Yudhoyono also met with the president.

Anies told reporters that he and the president discussed nothing about recent politics or work. "We just exchange greetings," Anies said.