25 Oct 17 / Wednesday

The Indonesian parliament on Tuesday approved a presidential decree, that would ban any civil organization that contradicts or goes against the country’s secular state ideology.The decree was put into review in July by President Joko Widodo and aims to contain hardline groups, who have been affecting the country’s reputation for having the best religious tolerance as the largest Muslim-majority nation.

At least 1000 Indonesians, most of them led by hardline Islamist groups, who stormed the Parliament as a protest against the decree were repelled by strong presence of 5,200 police and military personnel standing guard around the parliament complex in Jakarta, while a hashtag supporting the policy was trending viral on Twitter.

Arya Bima, one of the lawmakers who supported the policy says, “We have seen mass organizations that are against the Pancasila (state ideology) and have created social conflict. This law doesn’t impede freedom of organization or assembly, it strengthens it.”

In recent past, hardline groups such as Hizb-ut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) and the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) who wish for Indonesia to impose Islamic law throughout the country, led several street rallies attacking Jakarta’s governor – a Christian – whom they believe is insulting Islam.

The secular state ideology of Indonesia or the Pancasila comprises of five principles which include belief in god, unity of the country, social justice and democracy, and religious diversity in an officially secular system.

Anyone who “embraces, develops of spreads ideology that is in conflict with the Pancasila” may face imprisonment of six months to life imprisonment.

Recently many countries like Netherlands, Austria, France, Spain, Italy and Turkey have banned hardline Islamic practices to curb the spread of fundamentalism. However, the Indonesian move is the strongest of all.

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