01/17/2017, 13.43
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Indonesian police: Ulema hide extremist movements that want to divide the country

by Mathias Hariyadi

General Karnavian warns against infiltration of MUI. Edicts and declarations are "manipulated" to promote a violent and radical ideology. Among the recent cases, the attempt to block the re-election of the governor of Jakarta because "Christian." MUI President denies the charges.


Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Indonesia’s police chief, Gen. Tito Karnavian, is warning of possible "infiltration" and "manipulations" in the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), the work of extremist movements and radical Islamic political groups.

These formations want to ignite divisions, confrontations and violence in the country, taking advantage of edicts and fatwa issued by MUI leaders. In an attempt to defuse tensions, the appeal to the ulema TO move "cautiously" and "pay attention" in ruling on political, social, religious and current events that can trigger divisions in society.

These are the warnings of Gen. Karnavian given in a public seminar at the police academy in South Jakarta today; the meeting was also attended by leading MUI personalities, to discuss major issues with top police officials.

According the head of the police force, the MUI is "manipulated" by groups that exploit the ulema to achieve their goals on the political and social level. This includes an attempt to block the re-election of the governor of Jakarta, because he is "Christian."

The alarm bell is part of a wider context of dissatisfaction and growing discontent on the part of institutions and moderate Muslim majority of the country against the (controversial) radical figures, that promote hatred and division between faiths and ethnicities. This includes groups that foment intolerance against native ethnic Chinese and the political and institutional leaders who are not Muslims.

Among the many examples of the recent period the affair that involved the governor of Jakarta, Basuki Purnama Tjahaja "Ahok", who ended up on trial for an alleged case of blasphemy. And again, the attack against a local official in Bantul, forced to transfer because targeted by an Islamic extremist wing because of his Catholic faith in a Muslim majority area. And, in recent days, the protest organized by Dayak natives of West Kalimantan, which prevented the landing of a radical Islamic leader for a conference (close to MUI).

The head of the Indonesian police precise this is not a personal opinion, but rather a "shared feeling" of public opinion, based on the events of recent months. According to Gen. Karnavian is an ongoing attempt to "reduce the role and prestige and moderate mainstream Islam", which is accompanied by the gradual escalation of a vision of Islam that "does not respond to the dictates of the national spirit: unity in diversity".

The Presudent of the Ulema Council Kiai Hajj Maruf Amin, who attended the meeting has responded claiming that the movement's leaders have never spread statements to behaved in a way to foment clashes and violence in society.

In recent years, the authorities in Indonesia – the most populous Muslim nation in the world – have given in on several occasions to MUI pressures. The latter acts as the country’s moral watchdog. In Aceh, a province governed by Sharia, women cannot wear tight pants or miniskirts. In March 2011, MUI lashed out against flag-raising "because Muhammad never did it". On previous occasions, it launched anathemas against the popular social network Facebook because of its “amorality”, but also against yoga, smoking and voting rights, especially for women

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