Jakarta, (ANTARA News) - A massive rally, staged here on Friday for protesting the burning of a black flag bearing an Arabic writing of "Tawhid", is a "sacred act for defending the Tawhid" so that it must not be politicized, a youth activist said.

"This act, which is aimed at defending the `Tawhid`, is sacred. So, it must not be littered with political interests," Deputy Chief of the Islamic Youth Movement (GPI) Zulham Arief told journalists here on Thursday evening.

The "Act of Defending Tawhid 211" rally should be safeguarded to ensure that the movement was purely aimed at defending the defining doctrine of Islam and expressing a collective disappointment for the flag-burning incident, he said.

"So, this is a reflection of our religious belief. But, if the rally is dragged into a political sphere, we disagree. We want to tell the people that the rally for protesting the flag-burning incident cannot be shifted to be the political sphere," he said.

The rally for defending the Tawhid should be prevented from any effort to drag it into supporting certain political interests related to the 2019 Presidential Election, Zulham Arief said.

However, the rallies for protesting the flag-burning, and for defending the Tawhid were understandable as a democratic way of those wanting to express their disappointment on the lack of firm of the government`s responses to the case, he said.

The capital city, Jakarta, is bracing for another massive rally taking place after the Friday prayer.

The calls for Muslims to join the "Act of Defending Tawhid 211" have gone viral on various popular social media platforms under the hashtag of "AksiBelaTauhid211", including https://twitter.com/hashtag/AksiBelaTauhid211?src=hash over the past week.

In response to this planned rally, which is actually the continuation of the last Friday`s demonstration, the Indonesian National Police have doubled the number of security personnel deployed to safeguard those expressing their democratic rights.

According to Deputy Chief of the National Police Commissioner General Ari Dono Sukmanto, around 14,000 security personnel would secure the massive rally, due to take place in front of the State Palace, Central Jakarta, after the Friday prayer.

Speaking after attending a meeting at the Coordinating Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Ministry here, he called on the community members joining the "Act of Defending Tawhid 211" rally not to violate laws and disrupt Jakarta`s traffic flows.

The black flag bearing the Arabic writing of "Tawhid" was burned by several members of the Nahdlatul Ulama`s Barisan Ansor Serba Guna (Banser) youth wing at a commemorative event of this year`s National Santri Day in Garut, West Java Province, on Oct 22.

Those committing the act were quoted by local media as saying that the flag that they burned was that of Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), an Islamic organization that the government had banned.

Last Friday (Oct 26), around one thousand Muslims coming from Jakarta and its surrounding areas had staged a rally in front of the Coordinating Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Ministry in Central Jakarta for protesting this flag-burning incident.

Deputy Chief of the National Police Commissioner General Ari Dono Sukmanto urged people living outside Jakarta not to join the rally because the police have handled the flag burning case, and Indonesia was mourning for the Lion Air plane crash.

Coordinating Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Minister Wiranto admitted that staging the rally was the right of every citizen but he shared Sukmanto`s view arguing that the rally was not relevant to the fact that the police had handled the case.

Therefore, the rally would only spend the nation`s energy. Moreover, various Muslim figures also urged the Muslim community members to handle the flag-burning case through dialogues for reaching an acceptable solution and hand over the case to law enforcers.

Reporting by M Arief Iskandar

Reporter: Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Otniel Tamindael
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