The Indonesian Government has formally banned the high-profile Front Pembela Islam-FPI (Islamic Defenders Front), citing the group’s links to terrorism and violent acts targeted against the general public.
The announcement of the organization’s banning by Chief Security Minister Mahfud M.D. on Wednesday, 29 December 2020, came while the FPI’s controversial leader, Rizieq Syihab, remained in police detention for violations of municipal health protocols committed during a family wedding in late 2020.
In declaring FPI, all its attributes, and all activities carried out under its name as illegal, Mahfud pointed out that the original charter of FPI expired on 20 June 2019 when the Government refused to renew its legal standing.
The Government has frozen the bank accounts of the FPI.
To give weight to Mahfud’s announcement, a further joint decree outlawing FPI was signed by the National Chief of Police Idham Azis, the Indonesian Attorney General Sanitiar Burganuddin, Home Affairs Minister Tito Karnavian, Chief of the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) Boy Rafli Amar, Communication and Information Technology Minister Johnny G Plate, and Justice Minister Yasonna Laoly.
The Press conference announcing the ban was attended by many top officials of the Indonesian Government, including most of the signatories to the decree.
As reported by The Jakarta Globe, government data shows that some 35 members of FPI have been implicated in terrorist activities, 29 of whom have been convicted. FPI has been charged with a number of criminal acts, with more than 100 convictions in criminal courts.
In recent weeks, six men escorting FPI leader Rizieq Syihab traveling in a motorcade died in a shoot-out with Indonesian police.
The FPI’s goal to introduce Syariah law in Indonesia is a point of violent division with many elements of Indonesian society. The group has been involved in brutal attacks with other religious sects in Indonesia, frequently participating in vigilante groups that raid, damage, and close businesses, activities, and religious observances not to their liking.