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Indonesian police nab key suspect promoting Islamic caliphate

UCA News - June 14, 2022

Katharina Reny Lestari – A so-called education minister of an Islamic extremist group in Indonesia has been arrested and named a suspect in the promotion of Islamic caliphate ideology in schools.

The 74-year-old Muslim man, who was not named, was arrested on June 13 in Mojokerto city of East Java province by Jakarta police and later declared a suspect in treason and hoax cases.

Jakarta police spokesman Endra Zulpan said the suspect served as "education minister" of Khilafatul Muslimin and was responsible for the spread of Islamic caliphate ideology in schools affiliated to the group.

Khilafatul Muslimin is said to be an offshoot of Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia, an extremist organization banned in 2017 by the Indonesian government after calling for an Islamic caliphate.

Zulpan said the group was affiliated with at least 30 schools located in various parts of the country but refused to go into further details.

He said the arrest was made after Jakarta police nabbed five group leaders in connection with motorcycle rallies in support of a caliphate.

Leaflets handed by motorcyclists during the rallies held in late May in Jakarta and Brebes district of Central Java province called for an end to Indonesia's secular society and the setting up of a caliphate that would follow Sharia law.

According to Zulpan, the five group leaders included Abdul Qadir Hasan Baraja, who was arrested last week in Bandar Lampung, the capital of Lampung province. Another four group leaders were arrested in Lampung, North Sumatra and West Java provinces.

Baraja, 79, is a former member of the Indonesian Islamic State group and served 13 years in prison for his involvement in a 1985 bomb attack in East Java province.

Speaking with UCA News, Father Antonius Benny Susetyo, a member of a presidential unit promoting communal tolerance, said: "No matter how small the threat is, we must anticipate it and not let it grow big. It is very dangerous. What the Jakarta police have done is right."

The priest called on the Education, Culture, Research and Technology Ministry to monitor the schools affiliated with Khilafatul Muslimin. "What we need to do now is to free all schools from the group, whose ideology is against Pancasila," he said.

Pancasila (five principles) is seen by Indonesians as the foundation of national unity.

"We must strengthen local wisdom to fight against any group whose ideology is against Pancasila," Father Susetyo said.

Meanwhile, Hendardi, director of the Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace, said in a statement that "an early preventive effort, which is to curb intolerance, is one of many ways to tackle terrorism."

Source: https://www.ucanews.com/news/indonesian-police-nab-key-suspect-promoting-islamic-caliphate/9764