Kosim Rahman – Former members of the recently banned Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) group, which had previously campaigned for radical Islamic ideas, is believed to be supporting the 02 presidential campaign ticket (Paslon) of Prabowo Subianto and Sandiaga Uno in the 2019 elections.
Yaqut Cholil Qoumas, the chairperson of GP Ansor, the youth wing of Islamic mass organisation Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), says that the HTI and other radical ormas (mass or social organisations) are indeed coming behind the Prabowo-Sandiaga camp.
This assessment is the same as one conveyed recently by United Development Party (PPP) General Chairperson M. Romahurmuziy.
"Mine and Rommy's views in this context are no different. We see that groups with hard-line ideas are indeed uniting around them (the Prabowo camp). Namely ex-HTI [members] or groups which have been spreading radical Islamic ideas", Qoumas told journalists in Jakarta on Wednesday March 6.
According to Qoumas, ex-HTI members support Prabowo because they feel there will be an opportunity to spread their beliefs openly again if Prabowo is elected.
It will be different if Widodo is reelected who they are convinced will be closed to taking up ideologies which conflict with the state ideology of Pancasila and the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI).
"Why are they there (Paslon 02), because they think that if [Prabowo] wins it will be the best opportunity to again be able to proselytise the ideas that they believe in. But if Jokowi is elected this will be closed to them, difficult. With Prabowo it will be relatively looser", added Qoumas.
Qoumas believes that for the moment the relationship between Prabowo and the HTI and other radical ormas is mutually beneficial. Although in ideological terms they are very different. This is more about tactical interests in the elections.
"In this context Prabowo is weaker and more accommodating to their ideology than Jokowi. Jokowi is very firm (on the HTI)", he said.
Qoumas is of the view that following the election it is not certain that the two parties will continue to be allied, because ideologically they are indeed different. This is more a tactical relationship just for the elections where they both want to defeat Widodo.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Gus Yaqut: Prabowo-HTI Jalin Hubungan Saling Menguntungkan di Pemilu 2019".]