The Indonesian government today unilaterally banned the controversial hardline Islamic group Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI).
Coordinating Minister for Politics, Justice and Security Wiranto said there have been strong indications that HTI’s activities go against the nation’s foundational ideological principle, Pancasila, and its UUD 1945 constitution, both of which guarantee (limited) religious pluralism and freedom in Indonesia.
“Given those considerations, the government had to act assertively and ban HTI,” Wiranto said during a press conference in Jakarta today, as quoted by Kompas.
Wiranto added that the government’s ban of HTI is necessary to maintain the nation’s security and ideologies.
Several other high ranking government officials, including Home Affairs Minister Tjahjo Kumolo, Justice and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly, and National Police Chief Tito Karnavian stood beside Wiranto as he made the announcement.
Wiranto said that the order to ban HTI came directly from President Joko Widodo. However, there seems to be some confusion as to the implementation of the ban, as after the press conference, Wiranto said that the government must first obtain court approval before officially disbanding HTI, while Tjahjo Kumolo said that the ban is effective immediately.
Hizbut Tahrir is a global Islamic political organization and HTI is its Indonesian branch. The organization aims to re-establish an Islamic Caliphate that unites Muslim all over the world under Sharia Law. The group allegedly has ties to violent extremist groups, such as Jemaah Islamiyah, which is responsible for the 2002 Bali bombing. More recently, the brains behind the January 2016 bomb attack on Jakarta, Bahrun Naim, was revealed to be a student of HTI before he joined ISIS, the infamous terrorist organization with goals similar to Hizbut Tahrir.
HTI has also been accused for planning to overthrow the government on several occasions, with the ultimate purpose of establishing an Islamic Caliphate in Indonesia.
It remains to be seen if HTI will challenge the government’s ban through the court system, utilizing the laws that have been put in place to protect the rights of mass organizations, including HTI, which are legally registered in Indonesia.
HTI’s ban may be a sign of more to come, as this quote from Wiranto as recounted by ABC journalist Adam Harvey suggests:
Asked about banning FPI, Wiranto replies: "The others will be studied. Don't be in a rush. One at a time"
— Adam Harvey (@adharves) May 8, 2017