Representatives of many societal elements in Papua have called for the disbandment of a hard-line Islamic group, Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), which now has about 300 followers in regencies and municipalities across the region. With an ideology that contradicts Pancasila and the 1945 Constitution, the presence of HTI can divide the nation and trigger social conflicts.
The deputy chairman of the Papua chapter of the Islam Propagation Institution (LDI), Samsudin, said ulama (Islamic leaders) from areas across Indonesia rejected HTI in 2006 and their decision had not yet changed. Hence, Indonesian authorities should not hesitate to take tough measures against the organization. "HTI must be banned in Papua because it will only destroy the harmonious life of religious followers in the region," Samsudin said.
Meanwhile, Amirmahmud Madubun of GP Ansor, the young wing of NU, said the government must be active in educating people at the grassroots to reject HTI's ideals and concepts in Papua because it expanded its influence by creating cells on that level. "If needed, the Religious Affairs Ministry would write letters to schools and religious institutions in Indonesia to give them an understanding about HTI so they can reject both the ideology and the teachings it spreads," said Amirmahmud.
HTI entered Papua in the beginning of 2000 along with the start of Indonesia's reform era. In Jayapura, there are about 100 HTI supporters, while in Merauke 50 people have joined the group.
HTI has committed an attack against the government by waging a war of ideas. It teaches its cadres to fight against the state. They camouflage their fight against the state with various activities. They create a clash of opposing ideals and ideologies.
Historically, established in Jerusalem by Taqiyuddin An-Nabhani in 1953, Hizbuth Tahrir aimed to build a caliphate and was opposed to democracy. Hizbuth Tahrir has attempted to expand its influence in several countries, such as Egypt, Malaysia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey and several other Islamic countries, but it has received massive rejection and has been banned as it is considered dangerous to those countries.
HTI entered Indonesia in 1980s, targeting university students and mosque congregation members. It spread to Papua in the 2000s following the fall of the Soeharto regime, which was known for its tough measures against Islamic organizations.
HTI had an ideology that was against Pancasila and the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia, it was important for the government to find elegant ways to disband the organization.
Amazingly, the spirit of HTI ban has been dazzling all of part of Indonesia. It has shown that the government decision to ban HTI will be supported by all of Indonesian people who still loves Pancasila as Indonesia's ideology.
The spirit to support the government policy to ban HTI is a miracle because it has been shown several crucial things such as fisrt Indonesia's people still obey and follow their government stance and policy facing HTI's threat and how to stop it. Second, the existence of HTI in Indonesia has believed could be torned and faded-away the whole identity of Indonesia especially the spirit to honour diversity and pluralism.
Third, with an ideology that contradicts Pancasila and the 1945 Constitution, the presence of HTI can divide the nation and trigger social conflicts. A common perception about HTI's threat has blended in all of Indonesian people so that they accorded and supported the policy of government banning HTI.
Fourth, nicely if the spirit of HTI ban can be followed with the spirit to ban all of vested interest or all of group interest which still promoting a values or spirit that contract with national tenet, Pancasila and the supreme law in Indonesia, UUD 1945 such as a separatist group, a radical mass organization including a political party which had allegedly been built by a young generation of ex-Communist Party in Indonesia.
Fifth, all of Indonesia's people have believe in Pancasila and UUD 1945 as a national tools to solid, devote and to maintain the diversity of Indonesia due to the spirit of national awakening and prosperity access and situation for all of people's of Indonesia.
Specifically, the government must be active in educating people at the grassroots to reject HTI's ideals and concepts and always monitoring ex-HTI activist after their organization banned which could be joined in a political party, a terrorist group and radical group or a charity foundation to continue their struggle to implement "caliphate-system" in Indonesia.
Educating people on those threat will be significantly to erase HTI influence in Indonesia and it doesn't an easy work because being admitted or not, HTI's symphatizer and supporters had been existed at all level of Indonesia's people. Be aware. They are still danger and enough though to conquer.
*) The author is an Indonesia and abroad strategic observer at LSISI, Jakarta.