TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) revealed the reason he accepted members of the 212 Brotherhood group, which is a group notoriously known to constantly throw criticism against the current administration.
The president revealed the reason that drove him to meet the group that was named after a massive rally against former Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama or Ahok on December 2, 2016, during an interview with Tempo on Friday, April 27.
Jokowi claimed the closed meeting was driven on a political agenda, “This is a political friendly-gathering (silaturahmi) to break the ice, so no opinions will say that I’m picky with the people I meet,” said the President.
Furthermore, the president said that the 212 group requested it to be a closed meeting, which the president complied to. “That’s why I [complied to their request]. If it was an open meeting I would reveal it,” said Jokowi.
Member of the 212 Group alumni Ulemas, Usamah Hisyam said that the meeting had been planned since Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) leader Rizieq Shihab informed them that he would return to Indonesia back in February.
“I conveyed that other than to conduct silaturahmi, we also urged [the government] to stop criminalizing Ulemas,” said Usamah.
Many people saw negatively upon that the meeting between President Jokowi and the 212 brotherhood. Several Jokowi supporters argued that it is inappropriate to embrace a group that is clearly against the current administration.