At massive rally, Hizb ut-Tahrir calls for a global Muslim state
More than 80,000 Muslims gathered in a Jakarta stadium, where clerics also called for implementing sharia.
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Abdullah Gymnastiar, a popular Islamic preacher in Indonesia, said that Hizb ut-Tahrir opposes violence and therefore it would be "unfair" to label the group as "radical," reports Australia's The Daily Telegraph. Although he acknowledged that the group takes a hard line on moral issues, such as prostitution and gambling, he argued that they did not support violence, especially terrorism.Skip to next paragraph
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"I think there is a need for the international community to be fair in labelling Islamic movements as radical, especially in Indonesia," Mr. Gymnastiar said.
"It hurts our feelings if there is a label from outside as a radical group. From a close distance ... they don't have radical strategy or proposal for social change."
Indonesian officials prohibited a prominent member of Hizb ut-Tahrir's Australian branch from entering the country to speak at Sunday's event, as well as the party's British representative. Also, Abu Bakar Bashir, a radical cleric, received an "ultimatum" from police prohibiting him from speaking at the event, reports Australia's Herald Sun.
"We don't know why exactly, what is the real reason why they were deported," said the group's Indon spokesman Ismail Yusanto. "They came to Indonesia with a goodness."
Al Jazeera reports that critics have said an official adoption of sharia law would be "detrimental to the world's most populous Muslim nation." Azyumardi Azra, who works at the State Islamic University in Jakarta, went so far as to say that the implementation of sharia in Indonesia is illegal and that the nation's supreme court must make this clear.
"Introducing sharia bylaw is threatening to development, so that's why I appeal from time to time to the Supreme Court to investigate the so-called Sharia bylaw," Azra said, speaking to Al Jazeera.
Since the nation declared its independence from the Netherlands in 1945, there has always been talk of implementing sharia law in Indonesia. During the drafting of the nation's Constitution there was talk of adding a clause to the principle of Pancasila, or belief in one supreme God, that would require Muslims to live by sharia. However, it was quickly dropped from the draft, reports The Jakarta Post. The chairman of Muhammadiyah, an Islamic organization in Indonesia, said that any implementation of a caliphate – or khilafah in Arabic – would have to conform to the state ideology of Pancasila.
"Khilafah shouldn't undermine the inclusivism and pluralism of the nation," said [Din Syamsuddin, the chairman].
He added that non-Muslims did not have to be afraid of the discourse on Khilafah as it was part of the democratic process.