Islamic Defenders Front

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Islamic Defenders Front
FPI logo
Front Pembela Islam (FPI)
World map
Zone of influence
Formation 17 August 1998
Founder Muhammad Rizieq Shihab
Type Islamist organization
Headquarters Jakarta, Indonesia
Coordinates 6°11′41″S 106°48′29″E / 6.194717°S 106.808158°E / -6.194717; 106.808158
Region served
Official language
Ahmad Shabri Lubis

The Islamic Defenders Front (Arabic: الجبهة الدفاعة الاسلميه‎‎); is a radical Islamist organization in Indonesia, notorious for hate crimes in the name of Islam.[1][2]

FPI started as an urban vigilante that positioned itself as an Islamic moral police against vice—although illegally and not officially recognized by the state, which attacked warungs, stores, bars, nightclubs and entertainment venues for selling alcohol or open during Ramadhan.[2] Later, it transform itself as an Islamist pressure group which forward their agenda by playing religious and racial cards.[3]

FPI is known as the actor of November 2016 Jakarta protests, and several other protests against Jakarta's governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama in following months. In January 2017, several FPI's Twitter accounts has been suspended, due to violations of Twitter rules, including spamming, incivility and threat.[4]

Background and aims[edit]

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.[5] The organization aims to implement sharia law in Indonesia, although an International Crisis Report called it "an urban thug organization".[5][6] Leaked US diplomatic cables obtained through Wikileaks say that the FPI receives funding from the police.[7]


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.[8]

They also often threaten the safety and well-being of their targets, as in the case of Lady Gaga's Born This Way tour,[9] violating Indonesian law against violent threat on Kitab Undang-Undang Pidana, pasal 336.[10]

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.[11]
  • 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.[12]
  • 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.[13] 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.[14]
  • Churchgoers at many churches. Notable cases includes GKI Yasmin Bogor, and HKBP Church Bekasi, using violence to force them to close their churches.[15][16] FPI also endorsed the Singkil administration on closing around 20 churches in 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.[17]
  • LGBT activists, such as Lady Gaga[9] and Irshad Manji,[18] accused by them of being devils.
  • Shops at Garut that sell alcohol.[19]
  • Playboy Indonesia [20]
  • Several hate crimes, raids and attack against the Regent of Purwakarta Dedi Mulyadi, accusing him as a musyrik (polytheist) after he put up statues of Sundanese puppet characters in a number of city parks throughout Purwakarta in West Java. The FPI also has accused Dedi of debasing Islamic tenets by using the Sundanese greeting Sampurasun, instead of the Muslim-approved Assalamualaikum. In December 2015 around a hundred FPI members has done sweeping against the Purwakarta Regent. FPI members inspected cars passing through the front gate of Taman Ismail Marzuki (TIM) in Central Jakarta where the Indonesia Theater Federation Award was being held, and trying to stop Purwakarta regent Dedi Mulyadi from attending the event.[21]

Legal issues[edit]

  • In 2003, Riziek Shihab, the leader of FPI, has been sentenced for seven months of prison, under the crime of incited the mass against the security forces, and ordered to damage a number of entertainment venues in the capital. He was served his sentence in Salemba prison.[2]
  • In 2008, Rizieq was being imprisoned for one year and six months, after being convicted over attacks against masses of Aliansi Kebangsaan untuk Kebebasan Beragama dan Berkeyakinan (National Alliances for Religious and Faith Freedom) during their congregation in National Monument square.[2]
  • Defamation of state ideology Pancasila and insult against state symbols. In January 2017, Police declare FPI leader Rizieq Shihab suspect for alleged Pancasila defamation.[22]
  • Rupiah communist symbol issue. In January 2017, FPI call for withdrawal of Rupiah banknotes, accused them as displaying the image of Communist Party's hammer and sickle logo.[23] FPI allegations however, was rejected by Bank Indonesia (BI), saying that it is a rectoverso security feature of BI logo of the new Rupiah banknotes. In return, FPI has been accused for stirring public unrest, slandering Bank Indonesia and the Government, and insulting rupiah, the national currency as one of state's symbol.[24]

Rejection in Central Kalimantan[edit]

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 group, who wanted to inaugurate the provincial branch of the organization. Due to security concerns, 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 in 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 group's provincial chapter as the FPI's presence would create tension, particularly as Central Kalimantan is known as a place conducive to religious harmony.[25] 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 Justice of the Constitutional Court, the Home Minister and the National Police Chief.[26]

Anti Ahok rally[edit]

FPI has been known to vigorously oppose and tried to topple the administration of Jakarta's Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, known as Ahok. FPI mainly against Ahok's background as a Christian Chinese Indonesian, citing that the position of th governor of Jakarta should be reserved only for muslim.[3]

In 2014, FPI held a demonstration in front of Jakarta DPRD Building. FPI refused Basuki to became Jakarta's governor after being left by Joko Widodo that was run for President of Indonesia.[2]

FPI is also known as the actor of November 2016 Jakarta protests, and several rallies in following months. Especially after the allegation of blasphemy by Basuki Tjahaja Purnama.


  1. ^ Frost, Frank; Rann, Ann; Chin, Andrew. "Terrorism in Southeast Asia". Parliament of Australia, Parliamentary Library. Retrieved 2010-11-30. 
  2. ^ a b c d e M Andika Putra; Raja Eben Lumbanrau (17 January 2017). "Jejak FPI dan Status 'Napi' Rizieq Shihab". CNN Indonesia (in Indonesian). 
  3. ^ a b Sita W. Dewi (September 25, 2014). "FPI threatens Chinese Indonesians". The Jakarta Post. Jakarta. 
  4. ^ "Pembekuan akun Twitter FPI 'bukan permintaan' Kominfo". BBC Indonesia (in Indonesian). 16 January 2017. 
  5. ^ a b "Indonesia: Implications of the Ahmadiyah Decree" (PDF). International Crisis Group Update Briefing. Jakarta/Brussels: International Crisis Group (78). 7 July 2008. Retrieved 2010-11-30. 
  6. ^ Budi Setiyarso; et al. (30 November 2010), "Street Warriors", Tempo magazine, English edition, p. 41 
  7. ^ "WikiLeaks: National Police funded FPI hard-liners". September 5, 2011. 
  8. ^ "FPI Involved in 34 Violence Cases in 2010-2011". February 19, 2012. 
  9. ^ a b "Lady Gaga 'devastated' as Indonesia concert cancelled". 
  11. ^ "Hard-liners ambush Monas rally". The Jakarta Post. Jakarta. 2 June 2008. Retrieved 2010-11-30. 
  12. ^ "'Deplorable' FPI Strikes Again". The Jakarta Globe. Jakarta. 25 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-30. 
  13. ^ "Indonesia: Ahmadiyya killings verdicts will not stem discrimination". 
  14. ^ "Indonesia's Ahmadis Look for a Home in Novel". 
  15. ^ "Masalah GKI Yasmin Jadi Catatan Dunia". 
  16. ^ "Bekasi FPI Leader Murhali Implicated in Stabbing of HKBP Church Elder". 
  17. ^ "Catatan Kronologis Penyegelan Gereja-gereja di Aceh Singkil". 
  18. ^ "Irshad Manji book tour in Indonesia runs into trouble with Islamic 'thugs'". 
  19. ^ "Garut Police Take a Stance Against FPI". The Jakarta Globe. 30 May 2012. 
  20. ^ Jane Perlez (24 July 2006). "Playboy Indonesia: Modest Flesh Meets Muslim Faith". The New York Times. Denpasar. Retrieved 11 July 2015. 
  21. ^ "Police under fire for allowing sweeping FPI raids". The Jakarta Post. Jakarta. 31 December 2015. 
  22. ^ Arya Dipa (January 30, 2017). "Police declare FPI leader Rizieq Shihab suspect for alleged Pancasila defamation". The Jakarta Post. 
  23. ^ Safrin La Batu (January 23, 2017). "FPI leader calls for withdrawal of banknotes with 'communist symbol'". The Jakarta Post. Jakarta. 
  24. ^ Safrin La Batu (January 23, 2017). "FPI leader questioned for allegedly insulting rupiah". The Jakarta Post. Jakarta. 
  25. ^ "Senior FPI officials booted out of Palangkaraya". February 11, 2012. 
  26. ^ "Central Kalimantan officially rejects FPI". February 23, 2012. 

External links[edit]