Indonesian Muslims gesture and shout slogans during an anti-government rally in Jakarta on July 18, to condemn the issue of a decree allowing the country to ban groups that oppose its official state ideology, in a move seen to target radical Islamists in the world's most populous Muslim-majority country. (Photo by Bay Ismoyo/AFP)
The Indonesian government has banned a hard-line Muslim group for activities that it deemed undermined the secular constitution and national ideology. Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) was banned nine days after President Joko Widodo signed a decree allowing the government to ban what it thinks are extremist groups. The organization had been accused of trying to turn Indonesia into an Islamist state. The Law and Human Rights Ministry revoked HTI's legal status on July 19, the ministry's legal administration director-general, Freddy Harris told reporters. "In order to maintain the existence of the national ideology of Pancasila, the 1945 Constitution and national unity, the HTI's legal entity is revoked based on the decree and in accordance with the ministry's decision," Harris said Pancasila (five principles) stipulates belief in one God, a just and civilized society, a united Indonesia, democracy guided by consensus, and social justice for all citizens. Petrus Salestinus, coordinator of the Indonesian Democracy Defenders Team, backed the move and called for the organization's leaders to be punished. "Such a brilliant move must be immediately followed up by the minister and National Police chief taking further legal steps against HTI officials and members who organized activities threatening the national ideology, constitution and national unity," he said in a statement. The group's lawyer Yusril Ihza Mahendra said HTI would file a lawsuit and challenge the ban in court.
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