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Jakarta Post
Jakarta Post
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Controversial Gafatar group on govt's radar

  • The Jakarta Post

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Wed, January 13 2016 | 04:08 pm
Supporters of the controversial Fajar Nusantara Movement (Gafatar) protest outside the Southeast Sulawesi governor's office, rejecting being described as spreading deviant teachings. (Kompas/Kiki Andi Pati)(Gafatar) protest outside the Southeast Sulawesi governor's office, rejecting being described as spreading deviant teachings. (Kompas/Kiki Andi Pati)

Supporters of the controversial Fajar Nusantara Movement (Gafatar) protest outside the Southeast Sulawesi governor's office, rejecting being described as spreading deviant teachings. (Kompas/Kiki Andi Pati)

The government is keeping an eye on the controversial Fajar Nusantara Movement (Gafatar), calling the group illegal and saying it had deviant principles, following the disappearance of several of its members.

Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin said on Wednesday that Gafatar was an illegal organization that must not be followed by community members. The group had the potential to promote radicalism, he said.

Lukman added that according to studies from the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), the ideology upheld by Gafatar was not in accordance with Islam, as the group combined elements of Islam, Christianity and Judaism into one teaching.

"From the mass organization side, they are illegal. From the religion side, they are not Islamic, Christian or Jewish. This organization is not suitable to be followed," he said as quoted by kompas.com.

Lukman urged law enforcers to look into the development of Gafatar. His ministry is also studying the organization to help take preemptive action.

Separately, the Home Affairs Ministry's director general of politics and administration, Soedarmo, said the ministry could not disband the organization.

He said it was not a listed organization with the ministry, and added that organizations could only be disbanded if they disrupted security or violated the law.

"If [people] want Gafatar to be disbanded, they should file a report on religious defamation through legal channels," he told kompas.com on Wednesday.

The ministry, Soedarmo added, was cooperating with the Attorney General's Office and the MUI on a plan to file a lawsuit against Gafatar.

Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo urged the central government to take firm action against Gafatar.

Several Central Java residents have been reported missing and are believed to have joined the group in Kalimantan.

"The state must take firm action; if [the group] is forbidden then take action against it," Ganjar said as quoted by kompas.com on Wednesday.

He suggested that the central government make a thorough evaluation of Gafatar, from its ideology to its activities.

The controversial and forbidden group has been in the news recently in the wake of police reports on the disappearance of at least a dozen of people, which has been linked to the group. (rin)(+)

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