Indonesian targets radicals with edict
JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesia’s president signed a decree giving the government the power to ban radical organizations, a move aimed at outlawing groups behind an apparent rise in the political clout of hard-line Islam.
The measure amends an existing law regulating mass organizations, allowing the government to sidestep a potentially lengthy court process to implement a ban. It is likely that Hizbut Tahrir, a group that campaigns for Indonesia to adopt Shariah law and become a caliphate, is among the targets of the decree. The government announced in May that it planned to ban the group.
Wiranto, the coordinating minister for politics, security and law, said the decree is aimed at protecting the unity of Indonesia and not at discrediting Islamic groups. Wiranto, who uses one name, said the decree was signed by President Joko Widodo on Monday.
New York-based Human Rights Watch condemned the move, calling it a “troubling violation” of the rights to freedom of association and expression despite it being supported by moderate groups such as Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia’s largest Muslim organization.
Ismail Yusanto, a spokesman for Hizbut Tahrir, said the group plans to seek a judicial review of the decree in the Constitutional Court.
Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Politics, Security and Law Wiranto (left), accompanied by Information Minister Rudiantara (right), gestures as he speaks Wednesday during a news conference announcing a presidential decree to amend an existing law regulating mass organization in Jakarta, Indonesia.