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#58536 - 13 Aug 07 00:33 If Dictatorship & Democracy Fail, Try Islamic Law?
kenyeung Moderator Offline

Registered: 16 Apr 07
Posts: 2374
Loc: Indonesia
Various reports

Indonesian group rallies for world Islamic rule
Reuters -- More than 70,000 members of a Muslim group have held a rally in Indonesia calling for a caliphate - or Islamic rule - to govern the world.

The supporters of the Hizbut Tahrir group filled up most of an 80,000-seat sports stadium in the capital Jakarta, waving flags as they heard speeches saying it was "time for the caliphate to reign".

The meeting was held as part of "civic education" for Indonesian Muslims, Hizbut Tahrir spokesman Muhammad Ismail Yusanto said.

The organisation advocates Islamic rule and is banned in several Middle Eastern countries.

Supporters travelled to the stadium in convoys of buses from other parts of Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim-majority country.

Local and foreign speakers were invited to give speeches.

But Mr Yusanto said that two inivtees, Imran Waheed from England and Syeik Ismail Al Wahwah from Australia, had been denied entry and deported from Indonesia on Friday.

"The organising committee deplores the deportation because they came to Indonesia at the invitation of the Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia to give their good advice for the progress of Islam, for the progress of this country," he said.

The hardline Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir declined to appear at the event, without giving a reason.

But Yusanto said that police had advised Bashir and another hardline cleric, Habieb Rizieq, not to attend the conference.

The senior Muslim figure Dien Syamsuddin was among the key speakers to address the crowd. He is the chairman of Indonesia's second largest Islamic movement, the Muhammadiyah.

"Islam's progress or regress depends entirely on Muslims themselves," he told the crowd.

He said that "the essence" of a caliphate was that Muslims be united and that therefore Indonesian Muslims should safeguard the unity of their country.

But popular Muslim preacher Abdullah Gymanstiar said Muslims in Indonesia were still divided over Sharia law.

"Why do some Muslims not agree with the Islamic Sharia, even though it is for the own good of Muslims?" he said.

Security did not appear tight for the conference, with police limiting their role to directing traffic.

The rally ended with a prayer and the participants left the venue peacefully, but caused massive traffic jams as they departed.


Indonesia denies Australian entry
Indonesia has barred the entry of an Australian man connected with the conservative Islamic group Hizb ut-Tarhir (HT) ahead of a large conference today in Jakarta.

Sheikh Ismail Al Wahwah, of the group's Australian branch, was one of at least two international speakers prevented from entering Indonesia ahead of the huge conference in Jakarta today, HT Indonesia's speaker Ismail Yusanto said.

An Immigration spokesman confirmed Wahwah was prevented from entering Indonesia because he did not meet its immigration criteria on Friday. HT's British representative Dr Imran Waheed was also prevented from entering the country.

Banned in several countries but not in Australia, HT or Islamic Liberation Party, is pushing for the creation of a caliphate, a single Islamic state across the Muslim world.

More than 100,000 Muslims, many shouting "God is great" and waving black and white flags, packed into Jakarta's main stadium for the conference, where speakers discussed the need for a united Islamic state.

"Of course, I'm disappointed with the cancellation because two of our brothers ... were invited by the committee and they were going to ... present their thoughts, their ideas and also maybe suggest how to implement sharia," Yusanto said.

"They came to Indonesia with a goodness.

"We don't know why exactly, what is the real reason why they were deported."

Popular Islamic preacher Abdullah Gymnastiar said it was unfair to label the group radical, as they were opposed to violence.

"I think there is a need for the international community to be fair in labelling islamic movements as radical, especially in Indonesia," Gymnastiar said.

"Really, 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."

He said that while the group had "high sensitivity" for moral issues, such as prostitution and gambling, it was non-violent.

"Of course, we don't tolerate at all to engage in violence, especially terror action," he said.

Hizb ut-Tahrir's UK chairman Dr Abdul Wahid said the group was leading a "crucial debate" on the future of the Muslim world as an alternative to corruption and dictatorship.

"Whether this is the desperate action of the Indonesian regime or the regime following the orders of an overseas government is unclear," he said in a statement on the group's website.

"What is clear is that there is an attempt to prevent (British representative) Dr Waheed from speaking. One has to ask, do they fear our arguments so much?"

Stadium crowd pushes for Islamist dream
The dull roars of a football match, the twanging music of a youth group concert - from a distance it is not always easy to tell an Islamic conference from a holiday crowd. Inside Jakarta's Gelora Bung Karno stadium the clues get easier. There are about 100,000 people inside, and everyone is in Islamic dress.

The women's section - by far the biggest - is a pitter-patter of ice-cream colours. On their parasols, one word is printed over and over again: Khilafah, caliphate.

This is the reason why people have come here. To show their support for a single, unified, Islamic state.

They have been invited by the international Islamist group, Hizb ut-Tahrir. Not everyone believed they would fill the stadium, but Hizb ut-Tahrir is good at bringing in supporters - and keeping them.

Milling around outside the stadium we found 24-year-old Akbar. He was not a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, but he said: "This conference is not just for one group. In my opinion, if you support there being sharia law in Indonesia, you've got to be here."

Yani, a student from Bogor, said she had come to show there was support for Islam, and support for a Caliphate too. Next to her, Wisnu told us she was there to increase ties with other Muslims.

"Maybe I chose Hizb ut-Tahrir because it unites the masses better than other Islamic organisations," she said.

But if the audience turnout was impressive, not so the speakers lined up to address the crowd.

One by one, over the past few days, seven of the delegates invited to speak have dropped out.

'Uncommon democracy'
One of those who did turn up to speak was Din Syamsuddin - an establishment figure rather than a firebrand, and leader of Indonesia's second largest Muslim organisation, Muhammadiyah.

But this was a conference that would like to overturn Indonesia's democratically elected government and install an Islamic state - so where does he stand on that? "I think democracy is OK," he said. "But it's not enough. I think democracy in Indonesia should be supported by religious, ethical and moral values."

"Because this is a country where the majority of its citizens are religious people. So maybe not liberal democracy, but uncommon democracy; based on religious values - I say religious values, not necessarily Islamic values."

There was a lot of speculation before this conference began about what kinds of messages would be reflected here.

Hizb ut-Tahrir says it is not an extremist organisation: it does not have a paramilitary wing, and has never been charged with violence.

But its hardline agenda and rhetoric, and its secretive recruitment process have won it many opponents.

Educated classes
Kholid has been a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir in Indonesia for six years. He joined at college and says the teachings of the party have changed the way he views the West.

"It comes as a matter of course," he told me. "I've come to believe that Muslims have the right to defend themselves when attacked, but we're not allowed to be aggressive against Westerners if they're not attacking us.

"The method used in Hizb ut-Tahrir is a change in thought patterns. We call it 'thought revolution'. When someone is given Islamic teaching - given the brilliant thinking of Islam - then they'll naturally undergo a thought revolution, and will see what is good and what is bad."

Hizb ut-Tahrir will not say how many members it has. But those close to the group say membership is extremely difficult to win - often taking several years.

Unlike many other Islamist movements here, Hizb ut-Tahrir seems less interested in a broad mass following than a smaller more committed core of members, many of them drawn from Indonesia's educated middle classes.

The organisation has only been operating openly in Indonesia for seven years. The conference is one sign that its doing well.

#58541 - 13 Aug 07 07:13 Re: If Dictatorship & Democracy Fail, Try Islamic Law? [Re: kenyeung]
KuKuKaChu Moderator Offline
Pooh Bah

Registered: 09 Oct 05
Posts: 10790
Loc: Centre of the Universe
so, 80,000 islamists of a total population is what? 0.0034% or thereabouts. make no mistake, the organisers put in a *lot* of effort and money bussing the faithful to Gelora, well knowing a half-emtpy stadium would not look good.
KuKuKaChu: dangerously too sophisticated

#58549 - 13 Aug 07 07:38 Re: If Dictatorship & Democracy Fail, Try Islamic Law? [Re: KuKuKaChu]
kenyeung Moderator Offline

Registered: 16 Apr 07
Posts: 2374
Loc: Indonesia
Islamic rent-a-mobs? But the survey from indicates at *least* 1,300 people wanted to go. And most of them were probably single women using the internet to prey on bule with long hair.

Edited by kenyeung (13 Aug 07 09:29)


Moderator:  kenyeung, NetCop