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Ba'asyir visits Gibran's office to hand over letter

Jakarta Globe - November 20, 2023

Wijayanti Putri, Solo – Controversial cleric Abu Bakar Ba'asyir, known for serving multiple prison sentences due to terrorism convictions, made a visit to Solo city hall on Monday. His purpose was to deliver a letter to Mayor Gibran Rakabuming Raka.

The elderly cleric said that the intent of his visit was to hand a letter to presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto via his running mate, Gibran.

Ba'asyir said that the letter contains advice concerning the implementation of Islamic law within the governance system for future leaders.

"Islamic scholars or clerics are obligated by religion to provide advice to the president. It's mandatory for a Muslim president to govern the country according to Islamic law or the rules of God," Ba'asyir told reporters at city hall.

Regarding the implementation of Islamic law, he said that it can be executed "directly or in stages."

The 85-year-old added that the letter is addressed to all three candidates.

"All three candidates should receive the letter because one of them will eventually win the election, although meeting them in person isn't easy," said Ba'asyir, who runs an Islamic boarding school in Sukoharjo.

"Mr. Anies [Baswedan] has received the letter in Jakarta, Mr. Prabowo is expected to receive it via his running mate, Gibran. As for Mr. Ganjar [Pranowo], we will try to hand it to him in Semarang," Ba'asyir said.

Despite intending to meet Gibran in person, Ba'asyir found the mayor, who is the eldest son of President Joko Widodo, unavailable.

Ba'asyir has a history of condemning state symbols. In 1983, during the Soeharto regime, he was arrested for inciting others to abandon the state ideology Pancasila and for declaring that the salute to the national flag is a form of apostasy.

Having spent over a decade in neighboring Malaysia to evade the Soeharto regime's legal system, he returned in 1999 to establish the Indonesian Mujahedin Council, aiming to implement Islamic law in Indonesia.

Ba'asyir faced arrest by the National Police for his alleged involvement in the Oct. 12, 2002, twin Bali bombings, which claimed over 200 lives. He was later sentenced to 30 months in prison for "giving his blessing" to the bombers.

Despite no direct evidence linking him to the bombings, police and several governments believe he is the spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, the group behind the attack.

In 2011, Baasyir received a 15-year prison sentence for organizing paramilitary training for militants in Aceh. However, he obtained compassionate release in January 2021.

Last August, Ba'asyir appeared in a video and announced his acceptance of Pancasila as the state ideology.

"In the past, I believed that Pancasila is syirik [polytheism], but after further study, it's unlikely that those clerics would accept a state ideology promoting polytheism. Clerics are obligated to prove their good faith," he said at that time.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/news/baasyir-visits-gibrans-office-to-hand-over-lette