05/08/2017, 20.03
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Indonesian president bans HTI Islamic fundamentalists

by Mathias Hariyadi

Minister Wiranto announced the decision today. Active in Indonesia since 1980, HTI is involved in clandestine activities to promote the caliphate in the country. It has sparked social conflicts among Indonesia’s different religions. The Widodo administration had previously banned the Fajar Nusantara (Gafatar) movement.

Jakarta (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The government of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has decided to ban the Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) fundamentalist movement, as its activities contradict Pancasila, the state's pluralistic ideology, and constitute a threat to national unity. The authorities took this step following a series of sectarian demonstrations in the capital and other provinces of Indonesia.

Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister General Wiranto announced the decision on the sidelines of a ministerial meeting held to vet closely all of the country's mass organisations. The decision comes at a time of growing radicalism in Indonesia.

Active in Indonesia since 1980, HTI is involved in clandestine activities with a single goal, the establishment of caliphate in the southeast Asian nation.

The HTI was dissolved for three the main reasons, the minister said:

1. the HTI is accused of not cooperating with the government's political agenda in achieving national goals.

2. the HTI's activities have been closely monitored and evaluated. It secretly promotes ideologies and opinions contrary to Pancasila, the basis of national politics, and the 1945 Constitution, to which it is bound by the 2013 regulations on mass organisations.

3. by its activities, the HTI promotes social conflicts among the country’s various religions. The resulting tensions are deemed as a serious threat to national security, public order and the unity of the Indonesian Republic.

If confirmed by a court, the decision will be the second measure of its kind with which the government bans the activities of a religious movement in the country. The Widodo administration previously banned the Fajar Nusantara (Gafatar) movement and expelled its members from the Mempawah settlement, West Kalimantan.

Hizbut Tahrir was established in 1953 in Palestine as an Islamic political party. It spread to Indonesia where it took the name of Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) in 1980. However, under the authoritarian anti-communist and anti-Islamist regime of President Suharto it was unable to operate legally and politically.

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