Thousands of Muslims rallied in several Indonesian cities on Friday to protest the burning of a banned hardline Islamic group’s flag that was inscribed with a declaration of faith, police said, while organizers seeking to promote moderate Islam canceled a demonstration outside Jakarta.
There were no reports of violence during the protests, police said, as authorities deployed 7,000 security personnel, but observers said the flare up of religious fervor indicated that political Islam had started making inroads in the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation.
“Anyone who insults shahada must be condemned and be punished for blasphemy,” protest leader Yusuf Martak told one of the rallies.
The protests came after members of Banser, a paramilitary group under the country’s largest Muslim organization, Nahdlatul Ulama, burned a black flag with a shahadah – an inscription that proclaims the Islamic faith – during a rally on Monday in Garut regency in West Java province.
Banser members said the flag belonged to Hizbut Tahrir (HTI), an outlawed Islamic group seeking to establish a caliphate in Indonesia.
Full story: BenarNews
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