*Wednesday, June 30, 2010*










-- FPI, NO PROBLEM – !!??



A lawmaker on Wednesday accused the security forces of secretly 
supporting Islamist vigilantes as a kind of paramilitary force to 
intimidate opponents and commercial rivals.
Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle lawmaker Eva Kusuma Sundari said 
extremist vigilantes known for violent attacks on bars, minorities and 
human rights advocates had direct links to military and police generals.

“The organization is now part of the conflict management strategy the 
Indonesian military exercises to maintain its power,” she told AFP, 
referring to the stick-wielding fanatics known as the Islamic Defenders 
Front (FPI).
“There are several military personnel who still ‘use’ the services of 
the FPI... I suspect they maintain and protect the FPI because they 
still have interests with them.”

The FPI is known for threatening, intimidating and physically attacking 
Indonesians with almost complete impunity, despite repeated calls for 
the government to ban the organization.
On Sunday it threatened “war” against the Christian minority in the 
Jakarta suburb of Bekasi and urged all mosques in the city to create 
armed militias. Sundari is a member of a group of MPs who has demanded 
the government crack down on the vigilantes after they burst into an 
official meeting on health care in East Java last week and accused the 
organisers of being communists.

FPI chairman Habib Rizieq hit back at the group’s critics, saying they 
were part of a conspiracy among communists and liberals against the 
imposition of sharia or Islamic law in the secular but mainly Muslim 
“Police should not discriminate -- whoever propagates communism should 
be brought to justice as it is a criminal offence,” he told a press 
conference at FPI headquarters in Jakarta.

He did not renounce violence and when a journalist asked him to respond 
to community concerns about violence he accused him of being a communist.
/Agence-France Presse/


      Jakarta Globe Editorial, June 27 – 2010 -

Religious tolerance and freedom is the fundamental pillar of our 
society. The nation’s founding ideology, Pancasila, is centered around 
the freedom to worship and to believe in one’s God.
It is against this backdrop that recent developments in Bekasi are 
profoundly disturbing. Over the past few months, hard-line Islamic 
groups have sought to impose their will on the residents and dictate 
what is acceptable and what is not.

Now, several Islamic organizations in Bekasi have recommended that every 
mosque in the city form a militant unit and that local Muslims prepare 
for the possibility of “war” against what they perceive to be the 
Christianization of the city. A new group calling itself Bekasi Islamic 
Presidium, formed at the close of the two-day Bekasi Islamic Congress at 
the Al-Azhar Mosque on Sunday, said these militant units were important 
to “guard Bekasi Muslims” against conversion to Christianity. The 
presidium is also expected to forward several recommendations to the 
Bekasi administration to create policies that are compliant with Shariah 

These developments and recommendations should be looked into seriously 
and weighed with great care. There is a growing perception that Muslim 
hard-liners who shout loudly are not challenged, irrespective of the 
damage they cause in communities that do not share their views, as long 
as they are not visible from the metropolitan center of Jakarta. Most 
recently this has been seen in Bogor, in the Koja protests, and now in 
Bekasi. However, if left unattended, these simmering religious tensions 
have the potential to erupt into an open conflict with far reaching 

Talk of open war and the formation of local militant units is dangerous. 
We only need to recall the bloodbath in Poso and Maluku where thousands 
of people lost their lives and homes in religious conflict between 1999 
and 2000 to understand how quickly the fire spreads once lit, and how 
difficult it is to extinguish.

We are encouraged by a statement from the Bekasi chapter of the Islamic 
Defender’s Front (FPI) saying they would seek a dialogue with the city’s 
Christian community. We hope a truly open and rational dialogue takes 
place so a middle path can be found.
It is also imperative that the authorities move quickly to restore peace 
and harmony in Bekasi. We cannot afford another religious conflict in 
our midst after working so hard this past decade to promote Indonesia as 
a tolerant and moderate country.

If laws have been broken, those responsible must be brought to justice. 
Religious leaders must calm their followers and preach tolerance. No one 
group should be allowed to take the law into their own hands.
Bekasi is a litmus test of how the new Indonesia deals with such age old 
fissures in our society. It will test our legal and religious 
establishments to the full and it will test the local government’s 
ability to maintain the public peace. This is one test the country and 
the government cannot afford to fail.


Hans David Tampubolon, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Mon, 06/28/2010

*Islamic Defender Front: *(JP)

A multi-party coalition of legislators in the House of Representatives 
legislators demanded that the Islamic Defender Front (FPI) be officially 
declared a forbidden organization, said a coalition representative.

"We are not concerned about their mission. We concerned about the way 
implement their goals," said Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle 
legislator Eva Kusuma Sundari at a press conference at the House on 
Monday.The FPI has been implicated in “too many” violent incidents and 
there is more than enough evidence for police to bring criminal charges 
against the group, she said.

"The police must follow up reports on the FPI so that the courts will 
have a firm basis to determine that the organization should be 
forbidden," she said.Eva also urged President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono 
to use his authority to take firm action against the FPI.


Bagus BT Saragih and Hans David Tampubolon, The Jakarta Post | Tue, 
06/29/2010 9:

Legislators and activists have called for the banning of the Islam 
Defenders Front (FPI), a hard-line group known for its violent, 
vigilante actions against perceived threats to Islamic values.

The Indonesian Parliamentary Pancasila Caucus, a group of legislators, 
regional representatives and activists, said President Susilo Bambang 
Yudhoyono should prove “that the state cannot cower to acts of violence 
shown by the FPI” and other similar groups.

All victims of the FPI’s thugs should report to the police so that the 
courts can classify the FPI as an outlaw group, the Caucus told a press 
conference on Monday.Their statement was triggered by FPI actions on 
Thursday against legislators in Banyuwangi, East Java.

Legislator Ribka Tjiptaning of the Indonesian Democratic Party of 
Struggle (PDI-P) had reported the FPI to the police for breaking up a 
meeting  on the new health bill in a restaurant, which she was attending 
with two other legislators.

Ribka also reported the incident to the National Commission for Human 
Rights (Komnas HAM), which, she said “should issue a recommendation to 
ban the FPI because of its frequent violation of
human rights”.Banned groups, according to a 1985 law, include those who 
“disrupt security and public order” and which spread “communism or 
Marxism-Leninism or other teachings” in opposition to state ideology 
Pancasila and the Constitution.

Ribka was attending the meeting with fellow members of the House of 
Representatives’ Commission IX overseeing health affairs, Rieke Diah 
Pitaloka and Nursuhud.    Ribka also reported Banyuwangi Police chief 
Adj. Sr. Comr. Slamet Hadi Supraptoyo for negligence, saying police 
stood by as the FPI hooligans intimidated members into breaking up the 

Members of the Banyuwangi branch of the FPI, the Inter-religion Harmony 
Forum (FKUB) and NGO Gerak disrupted the gathering, which they believed 
to be a meeting of former members of the banned Indonesian Communist 
Party (PKI) and their families. Ribka is the author of I Am Proud to Be 
a PKI Child, published in 2002.

The secretary-general of the Jakarta branch of the FPI, Habib Novel, 
said the meeting “was actually a reunion of PKI members” or their 
sympathizers.“We couldn’t allow the meeting to take place because the 
PKI is a banned organization” since 1965,
he said.

FPI commander M. Sidiq said the group was “used to calls to disband.” 
Only its members or the Home Ministry could disband FPI, he said.

In 2008, FPI leader Habib Muhammad Rizieq bin Husein Syihab was jailed 
for 18 months for inciting violence against members of the Alliance for 
the Freedom of Religion and Faith at a peaceful rally in Jakarta.

Another Caucus member, Muslim scholar Ulil Abshar-Abdalla, and a new 
member of the executive board of the President’s Democratic Party, also 
cited the FPI’s “systematic violence over the past years”.

“It’s important for us to continuously push the government to disband 
the FPI,” he said



Hasyim Widhiarto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta |

Christian leaders and activists in Bekasi have called on local Muslim 
groups in the area to engage in talks to resolve inter-religious 
tensions that have recently threatened to boil over.Albert Siagian, the 
secretary-general for the Christian Youth Movement of Indonesia, said 
recent disputes between Muslims and Christians were rooted in a lack of 
mutual understanding and tolerance between the groups.

“Many Muslims, for example, will perhaps question why Christians include 
singing as their rituals or why they are allowed to hold mass at their 
houses,” said Albert, who lives in Harapan Jaya.Albert said the small 
disputes that have recently broken out could worsen if local religious 
leaders failed to bridge their differences.

Rapid development in residential and industrial estates has turned 
Bekasi, a satellite town that lies to the east of Jakarta, into a 
culturally and religiously diverse city.A number of conflicts have 
stemmed from disputes over churches built by Christian congregations 
that Muslim groups claimed were not permitted.

On Sunday, a group of hard-line Muslim organizations officially demanded 
the local administrations implement Islamic sharia law, a move they 
described as a response to the “ongoing attempt to convert locals to 
Christianity”.The accusation was referring to Christian prayer services, 
some of which are held outdoors, that have led some to suspect they are 
attempts to convert Muslims to Christianity.

Theophilus Bela, chairman of the Communication Forum for Jakarta’s 
Christians, strongly denied the allegation, saying that Christians in 
the area had been pressured to stop their services by hard-line Muslim 
groups.Theophilus, who is a resident of Pondok Gede, Bekasi, said there 
were not enough churches in the area to accommodate all Christians in 
the municipality, and that it was therefore normal for church 
congregations to propose the establishment of new churches.

“Most of the time, local residents have ended up misinterpreting 
[efforts to establish new churches] as attempts to impose Christianity 
[on them],” he said.

Last week, a group of local Muslims raided a baptism ceremony at a house 
in the upscale Kemang Pratama Regency estate.A group of Muslim residents 
said they had become suspicious after seeing hundreds of people — some 
of them wearing veils — arriving by bus and entering a house belonging 
to a Christian social foundation.

The spat ended when police arrested the home owners and ordered the 
people who had come to the house — many from areas outside of Jakarta — 
to go home.Antonius Warlela, 32, a Catholic living in Pondok Gede, said 
he had “no problem” with the implementation of sharia law in the city as 
long as Muslims could convince all residents to agree to the proposal.

“But do all Muslims themselves agree with the implementation of [sharia] 
law?” he said.


Andi Hajramurni, The Jakarta Post, Makassar | Fri, 06/06/2008

Pressures were mounting for the government to immediately outlaw the 
Islam Defenders Front (FPI) held responsible for the attack at the 
National Monument (Monas) on Sunday.

Some 30 students from various universities went to the streets in 
Makassar on Thursday, demanding the banning of the hard-line Muslim 
organization. "The violent acts committed by FPI have tarnished 
religious harmony in the country and clearly violated the 1945 
Constitution and basic human rights," said rally coordinator Murad.

The students also urged the police to arrest and prosecute FPI members 
who perpetrated the attack and assaulted members from the National 
Alliance for the Freedom of Faith and Religion (AKKBB) during a rally in 
Jakarta on June 1.

Councilors who received the protesters at the legislative building 
supported the students' demand, saying no groups were allowed to use 
violence against others. In Bandung, hundreds of members of the Alliance 
for Religious Tolerance (AKUR) stormed the FPI's local chapter office on 
Jl Pasteur on Thursday, demanding the head of FPI's advisory board sign 
an undertaking to stop using violence in the city.

AKUR coordinator Yaman Didu said they had taken this step in order to 
maintain stability in the West Java provincial capital. "We don't want 
people saying they have the right to resort to violence in the name of 
religion, because every religion teaches peace," said Yaman.

Bandung FPI's head of the advisory board Ayub Solihin expressed his 
disapproval of disbandment on the grounds that they were not involved in 
the Monas attack.

"We have been carrying out peaceful actions in Bandung so far, like 
other groups. They have no right to disband us," said Ayub.

He also said none of the FPI members from Bandung were involved in the 
attack in Jakarta. "Only the government can dissolve us, not the police, 
especially not other mass organizations," Ayub said.

In Cirebon, West Java, thousands of people from various groups and 
Islamic boarding schools, mostly affiliated with Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), 
took to the streets Thursday to demand disbandment of the FPI. The 
demonstrators held rallies at the Cirebon regency police office and the 
local legislature, arriving in dozens of trucks and with hundreds of 

Nurjaman, caretaker of the Kempek Islamic boarding school and 
coordinator of the rally, said the attack carried out by the FPI against 
one of the NU's clerics and an AKKBB activist, KH Maman Imanulhaq 
Faqieh, was a dishonor to the NU as an institution.

"The FPI had the audacity to attack a cleric who is an influential 
figure in the NU. Laskar FPI had also attacked AKKBB activists who were 
commemorating Pancasila Sanctity Day on June 1, meaning they have 
dishonored Pancasila and the NU at the same time. We condemn their 
behavior and insist the government disband the FPI immediately," said 

Protesters also urged local legislators to immediately enact an 
ordinance banning the FPI and organizations that disrespected Pancasila 
and often resorted to violence in the name of r



The Jakarta Post | Wed, 06/30/2010 | Editorial

Most urban swells seem prone to it — gang violence, mob culture and a 
general abandonment of the law and order. Some excuse it as street 
justice, others couch it as a poverty related phenomenon.

*But the main difference ultimately is whether authorities, in this case 
the police and the city administration, actually do something about it.*

Cities such as Jakarta are not on the brink of anarchy. But it has 
descended into a chaotic temperament of might is right and an 
understanding that if no one does anything about it, bedlam is 
permissible irrespective of rights of others. Mobs have a long history 
in Indonesian politics. Most of the major socio-political organizations 
in this country have some form of “youth wing” in their ranks. How they 
choose to use them depends on the nature of the organization, 
circumstance and the level of political desperation on the day. These 
multipurpose garrisons are employed for a diverse range of activities, 
from social and political ones to being an intimidating deterrent.

One thing is clear, they are meant to be a tour de force of political 

In some cases, “youth wings” can be an asset primarily because their 
parent organization is legitimate entities that engage in the formal 
socio-political sector.But when a mob culture seeps the masses, 
potentially productive elements become a threat. In a liberal political 
setting, without the patronage of a genuine organization, these groups 
become roving mobs that act like criminal gangs.

In brief, the culture of thuggery.We applaud that the practice of 
thuggery, which has become so prominent in this metropolis, is finally 
being rightly vilified at the highest levels.

*A multi-party coalition of legislators at the House of Representatives 
has condemned the actions of the Islam Defenders Front (FPI), demanding 
that the organization should be forbidden.*

A 1985 law raises the possibility of banning groups disruptive to 
security and public order, along with those which spread teachings in 
opposition to state ideology Pancasila and the Constitution. But banning 
the FPI, as a matter of fact, is unimportant. Perhaps even unnecessary, 
especially using laws that are rather draconian and originally designed 
to mitigate freedom of political association.

To invoke the law now could actually open the flood gates of 
proscription for political motives toward legitimate groups who may be 
critics of the status quo.What’s in a name? Banning the FPI would only 
disperse membership into smaller, and even more radical gangs.

*The trouble with the FPI may not even be the FPI itself. *

It is the omission by the police to effectively encourage lawless 
activities through a “do nothing” attitude when such incidents arise. In 
fact, it seems almost a standard procedure to let incidents occur first, 
then take action once property and people’s heads have been bashed away.

The police realize their duty to fight crime, but they certainly neglect 
a more important obligation to prevent crime. Some have even accused 
people close to police sources of actually being backers of groups of 
street thugs as part of a wider underworld racket that includes 
protection money and debt collection, among others.

This habit of omission rewards anarchic behavior, empowering groups such 
as the FPI and a half dozen others in the capital with a sense of impunity.

Actually, we cannot blame serial thugs for their behavior. There is no 
point expecting the higher rules of moral civility to groups of men (and 
some women) who are cowards and hypocrites by preying on pacifist 
civilians in the name of God.

/*What we should condemn even more is the police and authorities who 
have not, and still are not, doing anything against these groups. 
Ultimately, they become the real brutes who decline communities and 
create public insecurity.*/

* * *

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


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