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Jakarta Post

Police investigate 'HTI flag'-related cases in Palu, Poso

  • Ruslan Sangadji

    The Jakarta Post

Palu   /   Sun, October 28, 2018   /   09:21 pm
Police investigate 'HTI flag'-related cases in Palu, Poso This screen capture of a video shows the burning of what was believed to be a Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) flag. (kompas.com/-)

The Central Sulawesi Police are investigating a recent attack against the Palu secretariat office of GP Ansor, the youth wing of the country’s largest Muslim organization Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), as well as a suspected raising of the Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) flag in Poso.

The two incidents were allegedly connected to a recent brouhaha surrounding the burning of an HTI flag in Garut, West Java, by members of NU’s paramilitary group, Banser.

Read also: Suspected HTI flag burning sparks controversy among Muslims

The police have been questioning witnesses and suspected perpetrators in both cases, a senior police officer has confirmed. They are also looking into the motive behind the flag-raising on Friday in Poso.

Central Sulawesi Police spokesman Adj. Sr. Comr. Hery Murwono confirmed that the flag that was hoisted at the Poso Regency Council was that of HTI, an organization that has been banned by the government.

He added that the flag had been raised by supporters of the hardline group Islam Defenders Front (FPI).

“They were FPI supporters, but they brought an HTI flag instead,” Hery said on Saturday.

An angry mob attacked the secretariat office of GP Ansor on Jl. Lasoso in Palu on Friday afternoon, injuring several people.

At the time, members of GP Ansor’s Central Sulawesi chapter and Banser were packing aid for survivors of a recent earthquake and tsunami in Palu, Donggala and Sigi. The attackers were reportedly driving a pick-up truck.

“[The attackers] barged in and verbally attacked us, aiming to destroy the office. Members of GP Ansor and Banser fought back, so they clashed,” said Adha Nadjamuddin, chairman of GP Ansor’s Central Sulawesi chapter.

The police have deployed officers to safeguard the secretariat office.

On Thursday, the chairman of the Muslim People Forum’s (FUI) Central Sulawesi chapter, Hartono, condemned the burning of what was perceived as a tauhid flag by Banser members.

Tauhid is the core of the Islamic faith and the declaration of belief that Allah is the one and only God.

“The tauhid sentences are the core of the Islamic faith [...] It’s a matter of life and death for a Muslim,” he said. “Those who deny and threaten [the teaching] are infidels.”

Also on Friday, a group of people reportedly took down the Indonesian flag at the Poso Council and substituted it with a tauhid flag. (swd)