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Indonesia mulls banning more Islamist groups

Bangkok Post - May 31, 2017

Kyodo News – Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said in an interview published Wednesday that the government is considering the dissolution of more intolerant mass organizations, following its decision to disband the local branch of an international, pan-Islamic organization.

On May 8, the government decided to disband Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia for threatening Indonesia's state ideology "Pancasila". The legal process for the disbandment is still ongoing as HTI has been recognized as a legal mass organization in the country since 2005.

The state ideology is based on the principles of consultative democracy, social justice, humanitarianism, the unity of Indonesia, and devotion to a single God, while the Constitution guarantees freedom of worship, each according to his or her own religion or belief.

"I'll clobber them with the existing legislation. I don't talk about one or two organizations... it could be four, five or six," Mr Jokowi told local media network Tempo in an interview published Wednesday.

His use of the word "clobber" is notable as it was popularized by late President Suharto to crack down on his political opponents during his iron-fist rule. The president referred to mass organizations whose objectives are not in line with Pancasila, create public order and are intolerant.

While he did not name the organizations, saying they are still under deliberation, he stressed that the majority of Indonesian people shall not be disadvantaged by organizations whose members number only in the thousands.

"The existence of Pancasila, (the country's slogan) Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity) and national integrity are fundamental. Don't ever dare and try to change them," Jokowi warned.

The government's move comes amid growing support for radical organizations which exploited ethnic and religious sentiments during a recent gubernatorial election in the capital.

Muslim intellectual Anies Baswedan won the election, dubbed by the English-language Jakarta Post as "the dirtiest, most polarizing and most divisive the nation has ever seen," with the support of radical and conservative Islamic organizations defeating incumbent Chinese-Christian Gov. Basuki Tjahaja Purnama.

The governor, who is popularly known by his Chinese name Ahok, is now serving a two-year jail term for blaspheming Islam after a trial that rights groups and his supporters viewed as politically motivated.

Source: http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/asean/1259870/