Islamic Defenders Affront
Any person or organisation of faith who resorts to violent ways to either push their agenda, outright bully or instil fear in others does a grave disservice to their professed religion. Likewise, any persons who choose to belittle others’ beliefs and impose their will upon them is wayward and mistaken. When such groups, often vigilante in nature, get the tacit approval of the authorities, it is a travesty.
Such is the situation in Indonesia today, where a group purporting to defend the mighty religion of Islam but actually is an affront to all right-thinking Muslims has been shrieking in hysteria at any aspect of society it deems immoral, including patrons’ frequenting of bars and clubs, which its members have been keen to trash.
The American embassy has also been a target of the radicals’ ire, as has, most recently, the Home Affairs Ministry, which disciples pelted with eggs last month to demand that alcohol be banned in various areas.
The Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) does not have the backing of the public but it enjoys support from the police, its de facto partner in ridding the capital, especially, of vice.
Now, increasingly, the public has had enough. In recent days protests have been held in Jakarta and Kalimantan, where the FPI has set up a branch. A counter group, FPI-Free Indonesia, is calling for the FPI to be disbanded. So it should be.
The FPI does not speak for the Indonesian on the street; its goal of an Islamic state in this country does not reverberate with the majority of Muslims here. This is a democracy and radicalism has no place in it.
Indonesia has suffered for over a decade from the cancer of terrorism that grew out of provincial cells where militants plotted against both the state and Western nations. The battle against that disease is being won, with suspects rounded up in internationally backed anti-terrorism operations and the suspected mastermind of the 2002 Bali bombings on trial in Jakarta this week.
Along with this, for the sake of the country’s integrity and the wellbeing of its people, the authorities must ensure that all other radical elements are quashed, and they can start by outlawing the Islamic Defenders Front.Filed under: Editorial