Jokowi administration moves to ban Islamic group

Following a string of sectarian rallies in the country’s capital and other provinces, the government decided on Monday to ban the hard-line Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) group on the grounds that its activities contradicted the Pancasila state ideology and had become a threat to the country’s unity.

The ban recommendation, if passed by a court, would be the second time the government banned the activities of religious minorities in the country. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration banned earlier the Fajar Nusantara Movement (Gafatar) and evicted members of the group from their settlement in Mempawah, West Kalimantan.

Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Wiranto announced the decision on Monday on the sidelines of a ministerial meeting to comprehensively examine all mass organizations in the country, a move taken amid growing radicalism in Indonesia.

“The President has instructed us to review all mass organizations to identify those with values that contradict Pancasila or the unity of the state. […] As a legally operating organization, the HTI has no positive role in achieving the national goal,” Wiranto told reporters at his office.

“HTI has also promoted values that contradict Pancasila and the 1945 Constitution. The activities of the group have also collided with the public, thus poses a threat to the unity of the republic [of Indonesia]. For this reason, the government has decided to ban the HTI,” he said.

(Read also: Ahok sentenced to two years and yet not guilty)

In the wake of a blasphemy case against Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, conservative Muslim groups have staged a string of rallies demanding his prosecution. (wit)

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