The Indonesian government has ordered the disbandment of the Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir “to protect Indonesia’s unity”, according to Freddy Hari, director-general of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, as Al Jazeera reports.
The decision follows a controversial presidential decree announced nine days earlier that gives the government more power to disband groups that threaten the state’s secular ideology.
Hizb ut-Tahrir, which wants to establish a global “caliphate” and has campaigned for the adoption of Islamic law in Indonesia, condemned the ban and said it “will not remain silent”, vowing to challenge the decision in court. According to Catholic news agency UCAN, it has appealed to the National Commission on Human Rights “for help against government moves to try to ban them and other radical groups”.
While conservative Muslim organisations and human rights groups have criticised the decision, it has been hailed by liberal Muslim groups as a “necessary step for halting the rise of radical Islam”, as the New York Times reports.
Civil society and human rights groups also protested last week when the new law was announced, saying that a law that bans organisations on ideological grounds undermines freedom of association and expression. “This threatens the legal rights of all NGOs [non-governmental organisations] in Indonesia,” said Usman Hamid, the Indonesia director of Amnesty International.