Fundamentalist Islamic group in Indonesian under fire

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IDF2A militant Islamic group in Indonesia might soon be forcibly disbanded by the government. The hardline Islamic Defenders Front, known as FPI, has a long history of vigilantism and intimidation, but the group might have gone too far this time.

Last week FPI members conducted a raid in Central Java on entertainment venues that they deemed inappropriate during Ramadan, and were then chased out of town by the authorities. In the chaos that followed, the FPI struck a motorcycle, killing a pregnant woman and injuring her husband.

This incident seems to be the straw that broke the camel’s back and a broad swath of society is calling for action to be taken against the FPI. Home Affairs Minister Gamawan Fauzi said on July 25th that the FPI is a registered body that can be disbanded if it breaches the new Mass Organisations Law, rather than an informal network over which the state has no control, local media reported. Many other prominent politicians have asserted that the FPI has indeed breached the law and should therefore be disbanded, echoing the sentiments of various outspoken groups and individuals across the country.

On Monday Indonesia’s largest Islamic organisation, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), joined the choir calling for the FPI to be punished or disbanded. The moderate, mainstream Islamic NU is keen to distinguish itself from the FPI, which it harshly condemns for conducting violent attacks on law abiding citizens and establishments.

This peaceful groundswell of civil opposition to extremism in the world’s largest Muslim country is a promising sign for the future stability of Indonesia.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

A militant Islamic group in Indonesia might soon be forcibly disbanded by the government. The hardline Islamic Defenders Front, known as FPI, has a long history of vigilantism and intimidation, but the group might have gone too far this time.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

IDF2A militant Islamic group in Indonesia might soon be forcibly disbanded by the government. The hardline Islamic Defenders Front, known as FPI, has a long history of vigilantism and intimidation, but the group might have gone too far this time.

Last week FPI members conducted a raid in Central Java on entertainment venues that they deemed inappropriate during Ramadan, and were then chased out of town by the authorities. In the chaos that followed, the FPI struck a motorcycle, killing a pregnant woman and injuring her husband.

This incident seems to be the straw that broke the camel’s back and a broad swath of society is calling for action to be taken against the FPI. Home Affairs Minister Gamawan Fauzi said on July 25th that the FPI is a registered body that can be disbanded if it breaches the new Mass Organisations Law, rather than an informal network over which the state has no control, local media reported. Many other prominent politicians have asserted that the FPI has indeed breached the law and should therefore be disbanded, echoing the sentiments of various outspoken groups and individuals across the country.

On Monday Indonesia’s largest Islamic organisation, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), joined the choir calling for the FPI to be punished or disbanded. The moderate, mainstream Islamic NU is keen to distinguish itself from the FPI, which it harshly condemns for conducting violent attacks on law abiding citizens and establishments.

This peaceful groundswell of civil opposition to extremism in the world’s largest Muslim country is a promising sign for the future stability of Indonesia.

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