Seeking relevance, 212 to become ‘street parliament’ to control those in power

CNN Indonesia – December 5, 2018
212 Reunion rally on Jl MH Thamrin in Central Jakarta - December 2, 2018 (Antara)
212 Reunion rally on Jl MH Thamrin in Central Jakarta - December 2, 2018 (Antara)

Jakarta – 212 Alumni Brotherhood (PA 212) chairperson Slamet Maarif says that regardless of the outcome of the 2019 presidential election the group will remain a moral movement similar to a street parliament. This is because the origin of the movement was a moral calling in a case of blasphemy.

“God willing we will stay true to the way of the believer and become a moral movement like a street parliament regardless of who becomes president”, said Maarif when contacted by CNN Indonesia on Wednesday December 5.

He said that the PA 212 does not want to become a political party (parpol). According to Maarif, the PA 212 was formed as a moral movement to challenge an act of blasphemy against Islam [by former Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama]. Because of this therefore, the PA 212 will continue to be active as a moral movement.

Maarif also declared a desire for the PA 212 to become a street parliament back in November 2017. At the time, he said that the PA 212 will not disband even though Purnama had been found guilty of blasphemy and jailed.

Maarif also does not want the PA 212 to become parpol or ormas (mass or social organisation) saying that there are already a lot of ormas in Indonesia. He would prefer if the PA 212 holds power without becoming a parpol or ormas.

“There’s already lots of ormas, leave us to be a street parliament to control those in power”, Maarif told CNN Indonesia in an SMS message in late November.

At the time Maarif was responding to efforts to maintain the PA 212’s relevance. But not however by registering it as an ormas. He sees the PA 212’s present format is an alliance of several Islamic ormas. With a format such as this, it is believed that the PA 212 will have more freedom to consolidate its forces.

In the future, continued Maarif, the PA 212 will continue to monitor parties which attempt to tarnish Islam. This he said will be done for the sake of improving the country. “Making the NKRI [Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia] better with hope in God’s blessing”, he said.

Maarif believes that the struggle against religious desecration has not stopped even though Purnama has been jailed. According to Maarif, they cannot rule out the possibility that there will be new attempts to tarnish Islam. The PA 212’s duty, he said, is to fight against those who do.

“Religious desecration and the criminalisation of ulama [Islamic leaders] continue to take place and the phenomenon of Islamaphobia is becoming ever stronger”, said Maarif.

Earlier, National Awakening Party (PKB) chairperson Jazilul Fawaid challenged the PA 212 to become a political party because he believes that the organisational activities of the PA 212 have consistently been charged with politics. (arh)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Siapapun Presidennya, PA 212 Mau Tetap Jadi Parlemen Jalanan”.]