On 21 May 1998, President Soeharto stepped down after 32 year of authoritarian rule, since then Indonesia experienced a liberal democratic system.
One of the by product of such system is the creation of an organization called Front Pembela Islam (FPI) or Islamic Defender Front in 1998.
In spite of its name, FPI's actions did not reflect that of a religious organization, its members often carried out brutal violence such as raiding entertainment places and making threats. The worst thing is that most of such actions were untouchable by the law. For that reason, many people alleged that FPI has been maintained by the Police and/or the military for certain purpose.
The latest act act of violence was on 24 June when a group of people who claimed to be members of FPI ransacked a seminar organized by some members of the House of Representatives in Banyuwangi, East Java, which FPI accused has been organized illegally by former members of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) which was disbanded in 1965.
The above acts of violence have been strongly protested by the public, many of them demanded that FPI should be disbanded.
However, in several TV interviews FPI's spokesman denied that they took part in the said violence in Banyuwangi, saying that FPI has changed its paradigm from violence to non violence, and will dismiss members who do not obey this rule.
Further, FPI accused that its name has been used by certain people to divert public's attention from far more important things that is happening in Indonesia today.
Considering the fact that FPI's frequent violent actions were almost untouchable by the laws, I felt that FPI has been intentionally maintained by the security agencies to do things which would divert public's attention from far more important things in life like the (10% to 20%) electricity hike starting 1 July. And such action seems to be quite successful.
I hope that the law enforcement agencies would investigate all allegations against FPI and punish them if proven guilty.
Related articles in the media :
- Islamic Defenders Front (Wikipedia)
- Daftar Aksi Front Pembela Islam (Wikipedia)
- Front Pembela Islam (FPI) in Indonesia (Indonesia Matters)
- Kronologis Peristiwa Banyuwangi (FPI site)
- Ulil: FPI Harus Dibubarkan (Tempo)
- Rieke Punya Bukti Keterlibatan FPI (Kompas)
- Tuntutan Pembubaran FPI Tidak Mengada-Ada (Legalitas)
- Menko Polkam: Percuma Kita Bubarkan (Rakyat Merdeka)