President calls on clerics to help assure peaceful Jakarta election

"It was a discussion about the regional election. He asked the ulemas to help create a conducive situation to avoid issues that would divide the nation," the General Chairman of MUI, Ma`ruf Amin, said.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo met Islam clerics here on Monday to seek their support to assure peaceful implementation of Jakarta gubernatorial election on Wednesday.

"It was a discussion about the regional election. He asked the ulemas to help create a conducive situation to avoid issues that would divide the nation," the General Chairman of the Indonesian Council of Ulemas (MUI), Maruf Amin, stated after the meeting at the State Palace.

Maruf met the president who was in the company of Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin; Coordinating Minister for Political, Security and Legal Affairs Wiranto; the Head of Presidential Staff Teten Masduki, and a number of ulemas and Muslim figures such as the former constitutional court justices Mahfud MD, Jimly Asshiddiqie, and Hamdan Zoelva; preachers Arifin Ilham and Yusuf Mansyur; and the chairman of Muhammadiyah youth organization Dahnil Anzar Simanjuntak.

"The ulemas agreed to support the policies that have been set by the president to assure that no party would mobilize the mass during the election, scheduled on April 19, which would create instability in Jakarta and create a negative impact at the national level," he noted.

There have been calls spreading in social media for "Tamasya Almaidah" (Almaidah Trip), which is a mobilization of the mass from outside Jakarta to supervise the polling stations in Jakarta.

"We are responding to the possibility of mass mobilization from any party, not only from one but both parties, as it could create problems in case of conflicts. We do not want to see such a situation," he remarked.

Maruf noted that he had proposed a plan to the president to summon the campaign teams of both candidates.

"On our part, as ulemas, we appeal to all parties and even the president to summon the campaign teams, so that they would not continue to create problems that would lead to conflicts and would stop competing in a way that is not considered good," he revealed.

On the occasion, Widodo also conveyed a number of issues to the ulemas, including the governments plan to redistribute land to communities, including mass organizations; Islamic boarding schools; partnership between big businesses, communities and mass organizations; increasing narcotic problem, terrorism, and radicalism, Amin pointed out.(*)

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