Islamic Defenders Front
Front Pembela Islam (FPI)
Zone of influence
|Formation||17 August 1998|
|Founder||Muhammad Rizieq Shihab|
|Muhsin bin Ahmad Alatas, L.c.|
The Islamic Defenders Front (Arabic: الجبهة الدفاعة الاسلميه; Indonesian: Front Pembela Islam (FPI) ) is a socio-religious organization group in Indonesia, notorious for hate crimes and violences in the defense of Islam.
There have been calls by Indonesians, including from moderate Muslims, for the group to be banned.
Background and aims
The FPI was founded on 17 August 1998 by Habib Muhammad Rizieq Syihab. The establishment enjoyed backing from military and police generals, including former Jakarta Police Chief Nugroho Jayusman. It is also associated with former Indonesian National Armed Forces commander Wiranto. The organization's aim is the implementation of Islamic [shariah] law in Indonesia, although an International Crisis Report called it "an urban thug organization". Based on Wikileaks in leaked US diplomatic cables say the FPI receives funding from the police.
The police have recorded that the FPI engaged in 29 cases of violence and destructive behaviour in 2010 and 5 cases in 2011 in the following provinces: West Java, Banten Province, Central Java, North Sumatra and South Sumatra.
They also often threaten the safety and well-being of their targets, as in the case of Lady Gaga's Born This Way tour, violating Indonesian law against violent threat on Kitab Undang-Undang Pidana, pasal 336.
Some targets of their violence are:
- on 1 June 2008, it staged an attack against members of the National Alliance for the Freedom of Faith and Religion, who were holding a rally near the Monas monument in the city center. This caused outrage, and led to the arrest of FPI leader Rizieq Syihab.
- In June 2010, along with other organizations, the FPI attacked a meeting on free healthcare in East Java, under the mistaken impression it was a meeting of the banned Communist Party of Indonesia.
- Ahmadiyya Muslims. Three members of the Ahmadiyya community were beaten to death on 6 February at 2011 when a 1,000 strong mob wielding rocks, machetes, swords and spears stormed the house of an Ahmadi leader in Cikeusik, Banten. Hard-line Islamic groups attacked the Ahmadiyah headquarters near Bogor and assaulted its members in many areas such as in East Lombok, Manislor, Tasikmalaya, Parung, Garut, Cikeusik, and other regions as well.
- Churchgoers at many churches. Notable cases includes GKI Yasmin Bogor, and HKBP Church Bekasi. Using violence to force them to close their church. FPI also endorsed Singkil administration on closing around 20 churches at Singkil, Aceh. The Singkil case is problematic, because the local administration law being used is not accordance to the Indonesian constitution which guarantees freedom of religious practices.
- LBGT activists, such as Lady Gaga  and Irshad Manji  accused by them as devils.
- Shops at Garut that sell alcohol.
- Playboy Indonesia
Rejection in Central Kalimantan
On February 11, 2012 hundreds of protesters from the local community in Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan mainly from the Dayak tribe, staged a protest at the Tjilik Riwut Airport to block the arrival of four senior leaders of the FPI Islamic hardline group, which wanted to inaugurate the provincial branch of the organization. Due to concerns about security, the management of the airport ordered all FPI members to remain on board of the aircraft while other passengers disembarked. The FPI members were then flown to Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan. The deputy chairman of the Central Kalimantan Dayak Tribe Council (DAD) later said that the organization had asked the Central Kalimantan Police to ban the FPI provincial chapter as the FPI's presence would create tension, particularly as Central Kalimantan is known as a place conducive to religious harmony. A formal letter from the Central Kalimantan administration stated that they firmly rejected the FPI and would not let them establish a chapter in the province because it contradicts the local wisdom of the Dayak tribe that upholds peace. The letter was sent to the Minister of Coordination of Political, Legal and Security Affairs with copies being sent to the President of Indonesia, the People's Consultative Assembly Chief, the Speaker of the House, the Chief of the Constitutional Court, the Home Minister and the National Police Chief.
FPI does not always act violently. In many occasions, FPI also participates in social activities. For example, during Aceh earthquake FPI was the only group of volunteers which could dig up the most number of bodies. FPI also participated in helping victims of Yogyakarta earthquake, as well as build house for poor alongside the ministry internal affairs. FPI also went to Padang in West Sumatra to help victims of Padang earthquake.
- Yudi Pramuko (2006) Habib-FPI gempur Playboy?! : rahasia sukses dakwah/ Syahrul Efendi D., Yudi Pramuko Jakarta. ISBN 979-99634-3-5 Revision of the author's thesis (S-1)--Institut Perguruan Tinggi Ilmu Alquran, 2002.
- Frost, Frank; Rann, Ann & Chin, Andrew. "Terrorism in Southeast Asia". Parliament of Australia, Parliamentary Library. Retrieved 2010-11-30.
- Suryakusuma, Julia (12 June 2008). "INDONESIA'S 'ISLAMOFASCISTS'". Straits Times. Retrieved 2010-11-30.
- Budi Setiyarso et al (30 November 2010), "Street Warriors", Tempo magazine, English edition: 41
- "Indonesia: Implications of the Ahmadiyah Decree". International Crisis Group Update Briefing (Jakarta/Brussels: International Crisis Group) (78). 7 July 2008. Retrieved 2010-11-30.
- "WikiLeaks: National Police funded FPI hard-liners". September 5, 2011.
- "FPI Involved in 34 Violence Cases in 2010-2011". February 19, 2012.
- "Lady Gaga 'devastated' as Indonesia concert cancelled".
- "KITAB UNDANG-UNDANG HUKUM PIDANA".
- "Hard-liners ambush Monas rally". The Jakarta Post (Jakarta). 2 June 2008. Retrieved 2010-11-30.
- "‘Deplorable’ FPI Strikes Again". The Jakarta Globe (Jakarta). 25 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-30.
- "Indonesia: Ahmadiyya killings verdicts will not stem discrimination".
- "Indonesia's Ahmadis Look for a Home in Novel".
- "Masalah GKI Yasmin Jadi Catatan Dunia".
- "Bekasi FPI Leader Murhali Implicated in Stabbing of HKBP Church Elder".
- "Catatan Kronologis Penyegelan Gereja-gereja di Aceh Singkil".
- "Irshad Manji book tour in Indonesia runs into trouble with Islamic ‘thugs'".
- "Garut Police Take a Stance Against FPI".
- "Senior FPI officials booted out of Palangkaraya". February 11, 2012.
- "Central Kalimantan officially rejects FPI". February 23, 2012.
- Suwarno, Ahmad (November 16, 2014). "Pemberitaan FPI yang Tidak Diekspos Media". IslamPos (in Indonesian). Retrieved November 16, 2014.
- (Indonesian) Front Pembela Islam's Official Website
- (Indonesian) FPI Online
- (Indonesian) FPI & LPI's History
- (Indonesian) Sunday, June 1, 2008 Monas provocation chronology