Archive for the ‘HuT – Indonesia’ Category

Antidemocratic messages on state TV

M. Iqbal Ahnaf, Yogyakarta | Opinion | Fri, June 14 2013, 8:01 AM
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I was struck by a report that state-owned television station TVRI recently allowed Muslim organization Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) to use its nationwide broadcast coverage to challenge Indonesia’s democracy.

The HTI is the largest organization in Indonesia openly calling for the overthrow of democracy and its replacement with a caliphate.

TVRI aired HTI’s national gathering called “Muktamar Khilafah” that brought about 100,000 people to Bung Karno Stadium on June 6, although not live.

The word muktamar is misleading. It is the Arabic word for congress and is a term commonly used by major Muslim organizations like Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah, to call its annual assembly to discuss organizational directions, programs and democratically select their functions.

HTI’s muktamar was only filled with a series of speeches by its leaders. People gathered to hear the speeches, but unlike the muktamar of NU and Muhammadiyah that are open for public observation, the HTI’s process to select organizational functionaries was not for public observation. Until today, the organization’s leader is still unclear.

“Campakkan demokrasi, tegakkan khilafah [Abandon democracy, establish a caliphate],” shouted Rahmat L. Labib, one of the speakers at the event.

The HTI believes that democracy belongs to infidels, which contradicts the belief of the majority of Indonesian clerics who deem democracy to be Islamic. If HTI’s message is taken consistently, Indonesian Muslims who participate in a democratic process such as election can be considered as practicing an infidel system.

Why should TVRI’s decision to broadcast the HTI event beg a question? TVRI is funded by the state and therefore it is responsible for protecting the existing political system and national interests.

The HTI has the mission of not only replacing democracy with a caliphate, but also undermining the sense of national identity and turning it into Islamic identity.

For HTI, nationalism is a Western tool to destroy Islam, which runs counter to the belief of Muslim leaders that nationalism is an integral part of being a Muslim. A famous phrase of NU leaders suggests: “loving the nation is part of Islamic beliefs”.

Democracy should respect freedom for all. Antidemocratic movements like the HTI are granted freedom by democracy as long as they do not engage in illegal activities.

This is something that HTI leaders should be more grateful for. It is unthinkable that the dissent practiced by the HTI would be tolerated under a non-democratic system like a caliphate.

In democracy, the state has no right to persecute legal political dissent from the likes of HTI. However, the question should be raised when state bodies like TVRI play a role in the mobilization of a movement that harms democracy and nationalism.

The need for the state and civil society to strengthen national identity is more prominent today. Indonesia is facing the challenge of increasing polarization in communities based on religious identity. The sense of national identity that crosscuts communal identities is critical in a diverse country like Indonesia. This is why our founding fathers, including Muslim leaders, accepted Pancasila as the state’s philosophical foundation that binds this religiously diverse nation together.

Prominent political scientists like Arend Lijphart and Donald L. Horowitz have warned of the unique challenge facing democracy in pluralistic societies.

There has been much evidence that democracy cannot survive or develop in countries that suffer sectarian polarization. An example of failing democracy due to sectarian polarization is Pakistan.

The term “harmful” is used here not in the sense of HTI’s prospects of bringing down democracy. Despite democratic deficits here, a December 2010 survey of the Indonesian Survey Institute found that 74.3 percent of respondents chose democracy as a political system over other systems such as socialism or an Islamic state. Voter turnout in Indonesia is one of the highest in the world, which only shows that Indonesia’s commitment to democracy is unquestionable.

This is actually the tricky part in responding to HTI. Skepticism toward the concrete political impact of HTI and sympathy of its non-violent strategy has led many to overlook its potential in polarizing society.

More important than this unlikely outcome, HTI’s role in polarizing Indonesian society could create a challenging environment for the consolidation of democracy in Indonesia.

Such an environment is reflected by inter- and intra-religious tensions that seem to be increasing in many parts of Indonesia. Intolerance and feelings of religious insecurity have made the life of minority groups difficult under the current administration.

Religious sects like the Ahmadiyah and Shia, which lived in peace in the past, now must live with constant persecution. Identity politics that exploit religious sentiments are paramount at all levels of elections.

It is regrettable that a state agency like TVRI — which should be protecting national integration — is promoting a movement that is harmful to democratization and nationalism.

The openness of government agencies as shown by TVRI in the HTI event is not new.

Last year, when I visited Kalimantan, a local activist showed me a copy of a certificate for participating in training for high school teachers, jointly held by the local office of the Education and Culture Ministry and the local branch of HTI. Such training clearly helps HTI deliver its narratives to a wider audience.

Civil society forces in Indonesia, such as NU, have been battling against what they call “transnational ideologies” that threaten national integrity. Government agencies could do more to help civil society promote democracy, rather than open the door to antidemocratic dissent and religious sectarianism.

The writer is faculty member at the Center for Religious and Cross-cultural Studies (CRCS), Gadjah Mada University (UGM), Yogyakarta.

Source: The Jakarta Post

Friday, 31 May, 2013 | 07:28 WIB
Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia to Dispatch 500,000 Members to Jakarta

TEMPO.CO, Bandung – The Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) is planning on sending 500,000 of its members from West Java, Banten, and Jakarta to the Gelora Bung Karno in Jakarta on Sunday, June 2.

“HTI will urge the government to replace the current governmental system to a khilafah system,” said West Java HTI spokesman Luthfi Afandi, Thursday, May 30.

Luthfi explained that a khilafah system is an Islamic administration system which applies full Islamic sharia and missionary. Such administration had been applied in Saudi Arabia for 1,300 years. HTI believes that the application of Islamic sharia will bring prosperity to the country.


Around 130,000 Muslims have attended the biggest Khilafah conference in Islamic history in Bung Karno stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Headline, Real Change · June 3, 2013 · No comments

Hizb ut-Tahrir held the conference titled “Big change of the World towards Khilafah”. Prior to this, 30 regional conferences were organized by HT Indonesia in various stages during the month of Rajab.

The conference included speakers and participants from around the globe including Australia, Lebanon, Europe, Sudan, Egypt, Pakistan and elsewhere.

The main message of the conference was that the world is experiencing a great and imminent transition towards the Islamic Khilafah. This theme allowed for a number of topics to be addressed and some exploration of issues such as secular liberalism, democracy, capitalism, and then subsequently looking at the Khilafah as an alternative solution.

US Shuts Indonesia Consulate Amid Film Protests

 . . . About 300 members of the pan-Islamic movement Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia rallied Wednesday morning in front of the consulate in Medan, the capital of North Sumatra province. Later, about 50 Muslim students protested, marking the third straight day of demonstrations there. Both groups called on Washington to punish the makers of the film, “Innocence of Muslims,” which denigrates the Prophet Muhammad. . .

Global Islamic group rising in Asia

Associated Press, Jakarta | Sat, 10/01/2011 3:18 PM

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The chanting crowd at the radical Muslim protest in Indonesia stood out for its normalcy: smartly dressed businessmen, engineers, lawyers, smiling mothers, scampering children.

At a time when al-Qaida seems to be faltering, the recruitment of such an educated, somewhat mainstream following is raising fears that Hizbut Tahrir, an enigmatic global movement, could prove more effective at radicalizing the Islamic world than outright terrorist groups.

Active in 45 countries, Hizbut is now expanding in Asia, spreading its radical message from Indonesia to China. It wants to unite all Muslim countries in a globe-spanning bloc ruled by strict sharia law. It targets university students and professionals, working within countries to try to persuade people to overthrow their governments.

The movement’s appeal to an often influential part of society worries experts. Its goal of an Islamic state may be far-fetched, but it could still undercut efforts to control extremism and develop democracy in countries such as Indonesia, which the U.S. hopes will be a vital regional partner and a global model for moderate Islam.

“Our grand plan over the next five to 10 years is to reinforce the people’s lack of trust and hope in the regime,” said Rochmat Labib, the group’s Indonesia chairman in a rare interview with a Western reporter. “That’s what we are doing now: converting people from democracy, secularism and capitalism to Islamic ideology.”

Hizbut Tahrir, which means The Party of Liberation, is also raising its profile in the U.S. after operating largely underground since the 1990s. Its first major event was a 2009 conference, followed by another one in Chicago this June.

Starkly conflicting views swirl around Hizbut. It has been described as both a peaceful movement to restore one-time Islamic glory and a breeding ground for future suicide bombers, “a conveyer belt to terrorism,” in the words of Zeyno Baran, an expert on Islam in the modern world.

Banned in most countries, Hizbut remains legal in others, including the United States, Great Britain, Australia and Indonesia, where its leaders say it has spread to all 33 provinces. It is closely monitored everywhere, and often operates on the knife-edge of legality.

“The rhetoric they have goes to the fringe of democracy,” said Hans Joergen Bonnichsen, the former head of Denmark’s intelligence service. But the Danish Justice Ministry has twice asked the nation’s top prosecutor if Hizbut could be banned under Danish law, and both times the answer was no.

Its new frontier in Asia ranges from Indonesia and neighboring Malaysia to Pakistan and China, where Beijing has accused it of inciting violence among Muslim Uighurs in the remote west. It has also become the most widespread, and persecuted, radical Muslim group in Central Asia.

The Indonesia chapter is believed to be the largest, with a following estimated in the hundreds of thousands, according to Sidney Jones, an expert on Islam in Southeast Asia.

“They are a real force here. They are a greater long-term threat to Indonesia than people who use violence,” said Jones, a Jakarta-based analyst with the International Crisis Group think tank. “Collectively, hardline civil society can have a bigger effect than jihadists and terrorists.”

Her words are echoed by anti-terrorism expert Zhang Jiadong of China’s Fudan University, who said Hizbut is “more harmful than terrorist organizations, because it has more influence on ordinary people.” The group, estimated at up to 20,000 members in China, is more likely to foment riots or rebellions than terrorist attacks, he said.

Ismail Yusanto, the group’s urbane spokesman in Indonesia, insists that “we area peaceful Islamic movement.”

“We believe people can be influenced by their environment, so so-called terrorists could be influenced by everyone, not just us. But Hizbut itself is committed to not being violent. There is no evidence,” he says, when asked whether some adherents later veer to violence.

The claims of nonviolence contrast with the movement’s fiery rhetoric, which calls for the annihilation of Israel – that’s what led to it being outlawed in Germany in 2003 – and exhorts Muslims to fight coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. One flyer shows a decapitated Statue of Liberty with New York City aflame in the background.

The U.S. State Department says the group “may indirectly generate support for terrorism but there is no evidence that it has committed any acts of terrorism.”

Hizbut followers may later “graduate” to terror under the tutelage of other groups. Often cited are the first British suicide bombers, Asif Hanif and Omar Khan Sharif, who attacked a Tel Aviv bar in 2001 and had past Hizbut links.

Reports have also linked Hizbut to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the Sept. 11 mastermind, and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the former al-Qaida chief in Iraq, but they have never been proven.

Hizbut calls for the establishment of a caliphate, uniting all Muslim nations under centralized Islamic rule in emulation of such entities that flourished in the past.

This is to be attained by changing Muslim mindsets to think beyond national borders, then pressing the message among political leaders, the armed forces and other power brokers until governments crumble.

Taquiddin an-Nabhani, a Palestinian lawyer who founded the movement in 1953, didn’t rule out violence during the last stage of creating the caliphate, or the possibility of fighting Western nations to protect it or expand it into non-Muslim countries. In earlier days, Hizbut staged failed coups in Jordan, Syria and Egypt, and it is now largely banned in the Middle East.

In Indonesia, Jones said, Hizbut appeals to those who believe that neither the country’s earlier dictatorship or present democracy has worked.

She said it has been able to infiltrate the top cleric body, the Indonesian Ulema Council, and local governments and exercises some clout on issues such as introducing sharia law, banning non-mainstream Muslim sects and opposing the operations of Western companies in Indonesia.

Unlike many Islamist groups, it welcomes women, who make up about a third of the membership, according to Ratu Erma, the head of its women’s organization. It also enjoys a following among parts of the elite.

“Some of them work by day in Jakarta’s main business district making the wheels of capitalism turn and after work talk about overthrowing the country’s infidel system. It’s one of the conundrums about the HT,” says Greg Fealy, an Indonesia expert at Australian National University who is adamant that at least in Indonesia the group is nonviolent.

In Malaysia, young hard-liners disillusioned with the moderating stances of mainstream political parties have turned to Hizbut because “they feel it is sticking to Islamic principles more closely,” said Mohamed Nawab Mohamed Osman of Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University.

Nawab, an expert on the group in Asia, said that Hizbut, which barely filled a meeting room in Malaysia in 2004, recently drew more than 1,000 to a conference and is present in every state but one.

Leaders and followers interviewed in both countries dodge questions about their numbers and inner workings, even the whereabouts of the current global leader, Ata Khalil Abu-Rashta, except to say he is based in the Middle East.

Behind its public face, Hizbut is built along Marxist-Leninst lines with secretive cells as key building blocks. Nawab says “students” may go through up to five years of arduous training and indoctrination to prove their commitment and become members. Some 60 percent don’t make the grade.

Hizbut members have been imprisoned in Russia, Central Asian nations and elsewhere, but some experts say the broad definition of terrorism in these countries – rather than any acts committed – landed many of them in jail, and sometimes before execution squads.

Within the U.S., opinion is divided. The State Department doesn’t name Hizbut as a terrorist group, but the New York City Police Department, in a document obtained by The Associated Press, identified it as a “tier one extremist group” in 2006.

The British government came close to banning the group after the 2005 London bombings, and government officials say membership has shrunk to fewer than 2,000 members. But Britain remains an important base for fundraising, propaganda efforts and recruiting senior members. Many leaders in Indonesia and Malaysia were once asylum seekers in the U.K. who got an education and made connections and then returned home.

Ed Husain, who described his time as a British member in the 2007 book “The Islamist,” said that globally the movement is “strong, robust, growing.”

“I still believe that the message and ideology of Hizbut Tahrir is as potent as ever,” he said in an interview.

“Their antidemocratic, anti-West, anti-Israel and anti-Muslim governments stance remains firm. As such, they implant confrontational, radical ideas and thus attitudes among young Muslims.”


Indonesian Islamists protest Obama visit

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Members of the Islamic group Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia demonstrate in front of the U.S embassy in Jakarta against U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Bali for the East Asia Summit. (Reuters)


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Hundreds of Indonesian Islamists rallied in central Jakarta on Sunday to protest against this week’s visit by President Barack Obama.

Around 2,500 protesters from the radical Muslim group Hizbut Tahrir shouted “Reject Obama” and “America is Terrorist” outside the US embassy as they brandished banners with slogans such as “Reject Obama, Reject Capitalism, Reject Imperialism”.

“We strongly oppose America and Obama coming to Indonesia,” the group’s spokesman Mujiyanto told AFP.

“Obama is a murderer of our Muslim brothers in Palestine and Afghanistan, a thief of Indonesia’s natural resources, and an imperialist who seeks to take over the world and will do anything for US interests,” he added.

Similar protests were also held Sunday in other cities, including Surabaya in East Java and Makassar in South Sulawesi.

Obama will be in Indonesia for the 18-nation East Asia Summit at the end of the week.

The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit, with observing nations including the United States attending, is also taking place this week.

The delegates are meeting to discuss major regional issues, such as territorial clashes in the South China Sea and the Myanmar’s bid to take over Indonesia’s role as ASEAN chair in 2014.

Radical groups like Hizbut Tahrir have little popular support in the archipelago of 240 million people.

Indonesia, the most populous Muslim-majority country in the world, is constitutionally secular and culturally moderate.


By Ruth King on August 14th, 2010

Terror Ties: Ground Zero Imam Attended Hizb-ut Tahrir Conference

Posted By Madeline Brooks

In an earlier piece [1] for Pajamas Media, I wrote about how the imam behind the Ground Zero mosque never said “no” to Malaysian jihadists who advocated suicide bombing in Israel and America.

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf seems to have an irresistible attraction to extremists and terrorists, in spite of frequent declarations that he is a peacemaker and a “bridge builder.” He has stated [2] that the Islamic community center and grand mosque he wants to build would be “about promoting integration, tolerance of difference, and community cohesion through arts and culture.”

So what was he doing at a 2007 conference in Indonesia of an international terrorist group seeking a global caliphate?

Hizb-ut Tahrir al Islami (Islamic Party of Liberation) has been banned in many countries — Germany, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey, Kazakhstan, and Saudi Arabia — but not in the United States or Britain. This is a dangerous group. It is alleged to have attempted coups in Jordan, Syria and Egypt, which were defeated, fortunately. As we see in these photos [3], Rauf looks quite relaxed and happy at the Hizb-ut Tahrir conference, as do the other participants with him. In fact, there is a feeling of celebration in these photos. The language in the text accompanying the photos is Malay. Although the conference was held in Indonesia, there were many Malaysians attending, including Rauf, who has lived for a great part of his life in Malaysia. An English language website promoting the caliphate states [4] that 100,000 people attended the conference.

Hizb-ut Tahrir is similar ideologically to the Muslim Brotherhood. Both seek worldwide Islamic supremacy and the imposition of Islamic law to replace the Constitution and democracy. But Hizb-ut Tahrir differs by also espousing Marxist-Leninist methodology, and is entirely open about its ambition to dominate the world, unlike the more discreet Muslim Brotherhood.

On two occasions, Hizb-ut Tahrir in America called for terrorism recruitment conferences in Chicago to establish their long-awaited caliphate, which would knock down capitalism, democracy, and equal rights for non-Muslims and women, and institute a Muslim-run society under sharia law. One conference, called “The Fall of Capitalism and the Rise of Islam” and scheduled for July 2009 in Chicago, actually did occur. But a follow-up conference slated for July 2010 at the Chicago Marriott in Oak Brook, titled “Emerging World Order: How the Khilafah Will Shape the World,” was canceled by the hotel.

What would living in this “Khilafah” be like for non-Muslims? According to Hizb-ut Tahrir’s position papers [5], we would not be able to serve in any ruling office, nor even be able to vote for any elected official. The rights of non-Muslims would be restricted to voicing “complaints in respect to unjust acts performed by the rulers or the misapplication of Islam upon them.” In other words, complete disenfranchisement and disempowerment. Not too surprisingly, apostates from Islam would be executed and women would have to be fully swathed in concealing clothing. Even Muslim women would be denied the right to shape policy by holding public office.

What would life be like for Jews living in the caliphate? Well, there probably wouldn’t be many left after a while — Hizb-ut Tahrir’s anti-Semitism is predictably strong. Ata Abu-Rishta, the international head of Hizb-ut Tahrir, is said to have “whipped the 100,000-strong crowd” at the August 2007 annual conference in Jakarta, Indonesia, “into a frenzy … by calling for a war on Jews.” Rishta has also declared that it is “permissible” to kill Jews in Israel, and by extension, everywhere: “There can be no peaceful relations with the Jews: this is prohibited by Islamic law.”

Hizb-ut Tahrir posted an article on its website in 2000 citing a well-known hadith calling for the wholesale murder of Jews: “The stones and trees will say: O Muslim, O Slave of Allah. Here is a Jew behind me so come and kill him.” In Germany in 2003 [5], the group was barred from public speaking because it called for the killing of Jews.

If you are neither a woman nor a Jew, what might life be like for you? First of all, you might be confused by the discrepancy between Hizb-ut Tahrir’s public profession of non-violence and what the group actually intends. Hizb-ut Tahrir has produced such terrorists as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Musab Zarqawi. Plane hijackings and the mass killings of non-Muslims have been declared acceptable by them as means to achieve their ends. Hizb-ut Tahrir in Pakistan [6] issued a leaflet in September 2008 urging Pakistan’s army to use nuclear weapons “to injure and bruise an already battered America to an extent to which she cannot afford to stomach right now.”

The literature of Hizb ut-Tahrir cites the Koran to validate using terrorism to spread Islam. They see Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Jama’ah Islamiyah as legitimate Islamic movements, not as terrorists. This may explain why Rauf refused to denounce Hamas as a terrorist organization on Aaron Klein’s radio show [7] on June 20, 2010. Perhaps Rauf does indeed share Hizb-ut Tahrir’s belief that the primary struggle of a Muslim is to spread Islam and defeat the West.

Let’s turn to an American imam, Siraj Wahhaj, with whom Rauf is associated. Born into a religious Baptist family, Wahhaj disavowed Christianity and joined the Nation of Islam in 1969, preaching that “white people are devils.” Wahhaj spoke approvingly of Hizb-ut Tahrir’s use of violent jihad as the way to establish worldwide domination by Islam. After he attended a Hizb-ut Tahrir conference in London, he said that Hizb-ut Tahrir “is right in their pushing for the Khilafah,” and he raised no objection to their methods.

Wahhaj’s approval of the Hizb-ut Tahrir London conference is of a piece with his 1992 address to an audience of Muslims in New Jersey, in which he said he would like to see Muslims take control of the United States and replace its constitutional government with an Islamic caliphate. He was named as a possible co-conspirator [8] to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing [9] in 1995 by U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White [10].

Wahhaj has been the vice president of the Islamic Society of North America [11] since 1997. The Islamic Society of North America funds Hamas to the tune of many millions of dollars, which earned it a designation as an unindicted co-conspirator. And Hamas is committed by its charter to destroying Israel.

It was the Islamic Society of North America (along with the International Institute of Islamic Thought) that produced a “special, non-commercial edition” of Rauf’s book, with Rauf’s cooperation, as Andrew McCarthy [12] shows us with a photo from the book’s frontispiece.

Rauf’s book has two different titles, one for non-Muslims and one for Muslims. In English, it is called What’s Right With Islam: A New Vision For Muslims and the West.

But in Muslim-ruled Malaysia — a country whose language Rauf knows well since he has spent a great deal of time there — the book was published as A Call To Prayer From the World Trade Center Rubble: Islamic Dawa in the Heart of America Post-9/11.

The word “rubble” stands out. It means wreckage reduced to rubbish. Trash. Garbage.

An Islamic call to prayer is made by a muezein, the Muslim who ritually calls the faithful to prayer. The muezein issues his call from a tall minaret, high above the rest of the world. Now we get an image of Rauf in the position of a muezein standing tall in his fifteen-story mosque looking down at the rubble of the World Trade Center, the buildings reduced to rubbish by his own religious group (although he has denied [13] that Muslims perpetrated the 9/11 attacks). The image is of conquest — Islam over the West. If Rauf is indeed a “bridge builder,” as he calls himself, we must question where the bridge is going. Is it towards Islamic dominance over non-Muslims?

Rauf has been criticized as insensitive for positioning his project so close to Ground Zero, and for that reason, Governor Patterson [14] recently offered to help him relocate his proposed mosque and community center.

However, even if Rauf accepts the offer and moves his mega-mosque elsewhere, the matter is still not closed. Given the extensiveness of Rauf’s ties to violent and seditious elements, it might be prudent for officials to begin an investigation into the activities of Imam Rauf himself.


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Sunday, 23 August 2009 17:02

Here are photographs from the International Ulama Conference organised by Hizb ut-Tahrir Indonesia on 28 Rajab 1430AH / 21st July 2009.

Picture Gallery(Click on any image to start slide show):