Indonesia bans hard-line meeting by caliphate backers

Objections from moderate Muslims prompts police to ban gathering from taking place
Indonesia bans hard-line meeting by caliphate backers

Indonesian Muslims wave a Hizbut Tahrir flag 'al-liwa' during an anti-government rally in Jakarta in this July 18, 2017 file photo, to condemn the issue of a decree allowing the country to ban groups like Hizbut Tahrir that oppose its official state ideology. (Photo by Bay Ismoyo/AFP)

Authorities in Indonesia have banned an international caliphate meeting due to take place in Jakarta on Nov. 17, saying the event represented a threat to national unity.

The ban came after moderate Muslim groups voiced fierce opposition to the planned meeting that was expected to attract up to 3,000 hard-line Muslims including some from overseas.

Indonesia's top clerical body, the Ulema Council had denounced the event. Council chairman Muhyiddin Junaidi said a caliphate was a governmental system in Islam, which does not fit with Indonesia's system of pluralism.

"The [caliphate] meeting is not in accordance with the ideals of our founding fathers," news portal quoted him as saying.

Muhammad Nuh, deputy chairman of the Kemayoran Grand Mosque in Jakarta told that the meeting organizers wanted to hold the meeting at the mosque but the request was rejected.

"We banned it because we wanted to avoid any potential trouble," he said.

"We also reject all activities that support the establishment of a caliphate in Indonesia."

Meeting organizers had approached the mosque in a bid to transfer the meeting to Jakarta after police in the city of Bogar in West Java refused permission for the gathering to go ahead there.

"The intended meeting was about to efforts to replace Indonesia's state ideology of Pancasila and democracy with a caliphate. So, we refused permission for it to take place," Bogor police chief Andi Mohamad Dicky told reporters.

He said the event also had something to do with voicing support for Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia, a radical Islamic group banned by the Indonesian government in 2017 for advocating for a caliphate in Indonesia.

Organizers were unavailable for comment.

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