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Jakarta protest over flag burning turns into 'Change the President' campaign

Liputan 6 - October 26, 2018

Ika DefiantiIka Defianti, Jakarta – A Defend the Tauhid [Oneness of God] action in Jakarta on Friday by a group of people angered over the burning of the Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) flag because it bore the Islamic creed has turned into a platform for the "2019 Change the President" campaign.

The call to change the president in 2019 was heard after the coordinator of the Defend the Tauhid action said that the administration of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo was not serious about investigating the people that burnt the HTI flag in Garut, West Java, on Monday.

The coordinator began by asking the protesters whether it is haram [forbidden under Islamic law] or halal [sanctioned under Islamic law] to re-elect the tyrannical and despotic (zalim) president. In one voice the protesters answered haram.

"Do you want to give him an opportunity to serve a second term or not sisters and brothers?", asked the Defend the Tauhid action coordinator through a megaphone atop of the command vehicle on Friday October 26 in front of the offices of the Coordinating Ministry for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs (Kemenko Polhukam).

"No", the protesters answered unanimously. Then the coordinator asked about changing the president.

"If it's haram in 2019 what do we replace?", asked the coordinator. "The President", answered the protesters in unison.

There can be no doubt that the Defend the Tauhid action has also been turned onto a platform for the Change the President (#2019 GantiPresiden) campaign.


The tauhid, or tawhid, is the core of the Islamic faith and expresses the belief in Allah as the one and only God. The flag-burning incident occurred on October 22 during the National Santri (Islamic students) Day celebrations in Garut, West Java, when an unidentified individual raised a black flag bearing the tauhid.

Several men, alleged to be members of the Barisan Ansor Serbaguna (Banser) youth wing of Indonesia's largest Islamic mass-organisation, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), took down the flag and burned it, apparently because they thought it was the flag of the banned Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI). A video of the flag burning went viral and drew outrage from many Muslims, who deemed it an insult to Islam.

One of the main groups behind the Defend the Tauhid action, the National Movement to Safeguard the Ulema Fatwa (GNPF), was also the driving force behind the 2017 "Defend Islam" protests against incumbent Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama – an ethnic Chinese Christian who lost the election to the Prabowo Subianto backed Anies Baswedan-Sandiaga Uno ticket and was subsequently jailed on trumped up blasphemy charges. Ma'ruf Amin recently resigned as the chairperson of NU to become President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's vice presidential running mate in the 2019 presidential election.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was Aksi Bela Tauhid Berubah Jadi Ajang Kampanye 2019 Ganti Presiden.]

Source: https://www.liputan6.com/news/read/3677409/aksi-bela-tauhid-berubah-jadi-ajang-kampanye-2019-ganti-presiden?source=search.

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