The rally to promote moderate Islam was cancelled on Friday after threats of violence from hardliners.
Organizers of an Indonesian movement to promote a moderate brand of Islam have canceled a mass rally after its youth supporters burned the flag of an outlawed hard-line Muslim group, sparking allegations of blasphemy.
The rally in Yogyakarta, predicted to draw 100,000 people, was canceled to prevent violence, said Yahya Cholil Staquf, general secretary of Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia’s largest Muslim organization.
Video of members of Nahdlatul Ulama’s youth arm burning the flag of the outlawed group, Hizbut Tahrir, has stirred controversy in Indonesia because the flag is also emblazoned with the Islamic declaration of faith. Their uniforms indicated they’re part of the youth organization’s militia.
At least 1,000 people protested the flag burning in Jakarta and Bandung on Friday, demanding prosecution of those responsible.
Demonstrators in white Islamic robes snarled traffic outside the security ministry in Jakarta, waving flags with Arabic text professing belief in one God and chanting “God is great” and “No God except Allah.”