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Reunion of 212 group that brought down Ahok 'purely for political interests'

CNN Indonesia - November 21, 2018

Jakarta, CNN Indonesia – Indonesia Madani Circle (LIMA) director Ray Rangkuti believes that the planned reunion of the Alumni 212 on December 2 is purely a political activity and has no relationship with religion.

The movement, he said, has lost is relevance because former Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama – who was the trigger for the 212 actions in 2016-17 – has already been jailed for religious blasphemy.

"Politics, it's clearly political, there's no longer any relationship with religion, there's no relationship with proselytising, and the target of their demands has already been jailed. What use is it", he said in Central Jakarta on Wednesday November 21.

Rangkuti said that the event will become a platform to capitalise on religion for the sake of political interests. If it was indeed purely for proselytising, the agenda for event would be filled with speeches and sermons which could cool down the current political situation.

"I think they just want to capitalise on religion. Keep on capitalising on religion for political interests. There's no relationship with proselytising. It should be that in a situation such as this that we use proselytising to make things calmer because we understand that the [political] atmosphere has again already begun to get tense", he explained.

Although he doesn't oppose the 212 reunion event as such, Rangkuti is asking that the organising committee not hide behind the guise of religion.

"So, please go ahead with the 212 meeting, it doesn't need to be linked with religion, all kinds of things that are unclear, that's the problem, the politics, because the 212's fight ended with Pak [Mr] Ahok being jailed", he said.

"Don't bring in religion like that, it's a pity that religion keeps getting brought in, yet its goal is clearly political, the target is political", he added.

Rangkuti claimed that the concept of a 212 reunion is odd given that a protest action or demonstration should end after its goal has been achieved. He even compared it with the much bigger 1998 reformasi movement which has never held a reunion such as this.

"It was huge, the 98 struggle, but yes it ended in 98. When [Suharto] fell, when he fell. That its members when on to form different groups, that's fine. There hasn't been a reunion of the 98 [movement] which brought down Suharto, it hasn't happened", he said.

Earlier, Alumni 212 Fraternity attorney Eggi Sudjana, stated that the 212 reunion would be held as evidence of the unity of the Islamic community.

Sudjana has denied that there is any political motivation behind the event bearing in mind that this is a political year. According to Sudjana, political support for a certain candidate is a citizen's right, not an obligation. (SAH/arh)


Former Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama – a ethnic Chinese Christian – ran afoul of conservative Islamic groups after a doctored video circulated on social media that appeared to depict him insulting the Qoran, when in fact he was warning the public not to trust politicians who quote from the holy book to convince them not to vote for non-Muslims.

In December 2016 Islamic groups organised by the Alumni 212 with the financial and political backing of sections of the political elite mobilised hundreds of thousands in series of so-call "Defend Islam" actions in a successful effort to force police to charge Purnama with blasphemy. Purnama – who had been the clear favourite to win – subsequently lost the election to the Prabowo backed Anies Baswedan-Sandiaga Uno ticket and in May 2017 was convicted of blasphemy and jailed for two years.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was Reuni Aksi 212 Dinilai untuk Kepentingan Politik.]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20181121204654-32-348254/reuni-aksi-212-dinilai-untuk-kepentingan-politik.

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