The Jakarta Post
The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) has called on the people who burned a black flag bearing an Islamic creed in Arabic to apologize for their action.
"The MUI is concerned and regrets the burning of the flag with the tauhid text, as it has caused an uproar among the Islamic faithful," MUI secretary-general Anwar Abbas told a press conference at its Central Jakarta headquarters on Tuesday. "The MUI requests that the perpetrators apologize and openly admit their mistake to the Islamic faithful," he said.
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 Monday 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 the largest Muslim organization, 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.
Police have detained and interrogated three people in connection with the incident, but none have been charged with a crime.
MUI deputy chairman Zainut Tauhid said the council would leave it to the police to determine whether the burned flag indeed represented the HTI.
"As it was already agreed that the flags of certain mass organizations were not allowed at that event and then the [HTI] flag suddenly appeared, this means that certain parties are trying to take advantage of the situation for their own interests," he said. (swd)