INDONESIA’s minister for security affairs Wiranto has announced legal action to disband the fundamentalist Islamic group Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), whose activities he said could threaten security and public order.
Wiranto declared on Monday that “the government needs to take firm legal steps to dissolve the HTI,” reported BBC Indonesia.
“Activities carried out by HTI are strongly indicated to be contrary to the aims of Pancasila,” he added.
Pancasila is Indonesia’s official state ideology which enshrines democracy, freedom of religion and ethnic pluralism as pillars of the nation.
HTI is part of the global Hizbut Tahrir movement, which advocates a global caliphate that would enforce Shariah law. The group is already banned in most Muslim-majority countries, however since 1998 has operated freely within Indonesia’s democratic system.
Most recently, the HTI participated in rolling mass rallies calling for Jakarta’s outgoing governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama be unseated and jailed for alleged blasphemy after comments he made regarding the Quran last September.
They have brought the capital to a standstill on numerous occasions, including last November when a rally descended into violence.
Ahok suffered a convincing loss in the April runoff election to Muslim candidate Anies Baswedan in what many commentators have argued was a win for religious conservatism in Indonesia’s historically secular politics.
Nevertheless, Islamists once again took to Jakarta’s streets last Friday to demand that he be given the maximum sentence for blasphemy of five years’ imprisonment.
Prosecutors have downgraded Ahok’s charge from blasphemy to harassment citing his “huge contribution” to Jakarta, calling instead for two years’ probation with a year in prison if he reoffends.
Soon after the April 19 poll, HTI spokesman Ismail Yusanto declared that the election showed Jakarta did not want a non-Muslim governor because “it is forbidden under Islamic law, to have an infidel leader.”
Justifying the proposed ban of HTI on Monday, Wiranto stated that “the activities of HTI have clearly caused conflict in society.”