Jakarta – An Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) executive has called a plan by Muslim activists to hold a reunion marking the anniversary of the 2016 anti-Ahok rally in Jakarta "unnecessary". He said the event should not become a yearly tradition.
Activists from the National Movement to Safeguard Ulema Fatwas (GNPF) planned to return to the streets on Dec. 2 in Jakarta to mark the anniversary of a 2016 rally – which has since been dubbed the 212 rally (a numerical representation of Dec. 2) – that demanded the imprisonment of former Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama for blasphemy.
MUI head of Islamic preaching Cholil Nafis said the reunion was no longer relevant as Ahok had served his prison time after being found guilty of blasphemy and he had been released from prison.
"It's unnecessary, not important. Don't turn it into a routine religious activity every year," Cholil said as quoted by kompas.com, "212 is only a legal and political occurrence [...] which has been concluded anyway."
He instead recommended that the 212 rally reunion be replaced with an event to celebrate the birthday of Prophet Muhammad or Maulid Nabi, which fell on Nov. 9, to encourage the public to love the Prophet even more.
Although the MUI denounced the 2016 rally, the council was one of the driving forces behind the protests as it issued an edict stating that Ahok had insulted the Quran with his remarks.
A group calling itself the 212 Rally Alumni was established to gather people involved in the 2016 rally to organize several events, including one held last year to support the presidential campaign of former opposition leader Prabowo Subianto – now defense minister – and his running mate Sandiaga Uno.
National Police spokesperson Brig. Gen. Argo Yuwono said that the police had received notice that the reunion would take place next month and they were awaiting a recommendation from the Jakarta Police to follow up on the notice. (gis)