Repressed Therefore Radicalised? Explaining Variation in Islamists’ Responses to State Repression in Indonesia
When the Indonesian government proscribed the non-violent Islamist group, Hizb ut-Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) in May 2017, some observers warned of the “radicalising effects” of repression. The banning of traditionalist Islamist group, the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), in late 2020 also raised concerns over potential backlash. The country’s largest moderate Muslim group, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), even urged its followers to remain vigilant against the latent threat of “ex-HTI and ex-FPI” members who “continued to operate underground”. This article goes beyond such unsubstantiated claims to investigate how HTI and FPI have actually adapted to the changing political environment and what explains their divergent tactics. It also assesses the potential for militant splinters.
In late 2016, Indonesia’s various Islamist movements jointly organised a mass mobilisation that toppled Jakarta’s then Christian-Chinese governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (Ahok), a close ally of President Joko Widodo. Since then, these groups have fractured over whether or not to keep up political opposition against the Jokowi government. This is best illustrated through the cases of HTI and FPI. Broadly speaking, the former chose strategic withdrawal and the latter overt resistance. While both groups avowedly condemn terrorism, this article argues that FPI, which advocates shariah implementation within the existing Pancasila-based Indonesian Republic, has a higher risk of producing violent splinters than HTI. This may sound counterintuitive since HTI is ideologically more radical, given its aspiration to replace the nation-state system with a transnational caliphate.
Two factors are proposed to explain the variation: a) organisational goals and identity; and b) leadership and organisational structure. HTI defines itself as an “intellectual-political movement” with a long-term goal of raising awareness among Muslims to establish a caliphate. It prioritises meaningful cadreisation over fleeting mobilisation and thus prefers temporary retreat for the sake of endurance. FPI’s identity as a “fighter of immorality” signifies a short-term orientation to combat perceived deviance through direct political actions. FPI’s unique mission and characteristics therefore hinge on its continued visibility and contentious activism.
Further, HTI’s formal hierarchical structure enables the organisation to enforce decisions upon its members, while its culture of discipline safeguards against radical offshoots that deviate from the non-violent principle. In contrast, FPI’s informal, charismatic style accommodates the fluid relationship between members and mere sympathisers who are bound together by affective ties to FPI’s Supreme Imam, Habib Rizieq Shihab. Rizieq’s arrest in 2020 provoked visceral reactions among members and sympathisers alike, some of whom turned to terrorist tactics, as evidenced by FPI’s Condet splinter.
The data used in this article was collected through dozens of interviews and participant observations with Islamist activists during this author’s fieldwork in 2022. By comparing FPI and HTI, the article seeks to shed light on the overlooked radicalisation of traditionalists – often considered ‘tolerant’ alternatives to ‘Salafi violence’ – while critically assessing the security threat posed by the transnational Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT) movement. The article begins with a brief discussion of repression-dissent literature before proceeding with an analysis of the two case studies.
Bringing Back Islamists’ Agency Into Repression-Dissent Nexus
In social movement literature, repression has been found to generate backlash, radicalisation, decline and death of mobilisation. To explain the variation, early research focused “on the environmental facilitation or suppression of movement activity rather than on internal characteristics or dynamics of the movement themselves”. The structural factors said to determine its effects include the intensity and form of repression; its timing in the protest cycle; and regime type. However, as Johnston argues, even in highly authoritarian regimes with no obvious change in political opportunity structure, activists have nurtured a “contentious cultural code” in ostensibly apolitical associations, such as the Boy Scouts movement and community centres. Recent scholarship has thus placed a greater emphasis on the agency of activists and groups in manoeuvring the political environment.
For instance, Gade’s study of the Lebanese Tawhid Movement details how severe repression led to the continuity but also the fragmentation of the militant Islamist alliance, with sub-groups choosing different pathways: disengagement, strategic retreat, co-optation and arena shift. In Egypt, Al-Anani distinguishes between the Muslim Brotherhood’s formal and informal responses to repression after the 2013 coup. The former was shaped by institutional factors – e.g., organisational adaptation and leadership – while the latter had to do with activists’ experiences and emotions. Alsoos attributes Hamas’ longevity despite repression to its organising strategies instead of ideology or environment. However, these studies have tended to focus more on the causality of organisational resilience rather than explaining responses to repression. As such, this article seeks to extrapolate the reasons behind organisational adaptation strategy in the face of state repression.
This article also draws on and contributes to the wider scholarship on the radicalisation of HT and traditionalists (including Sufis). The known cases of HT members’ radicalisation outside the Middle East are arguably related to the emergence of viable Islamist alternatives instead of political repression. For instance, HT Britain’s former leader, Omar Bakri Muhammad, had long expressed ideological dissatisfaction with the organisation but did not leave until he managed to form a new extremist group, Al-Muhajiroun. Indonesia has seen only a handful of cases of former HTI members crossing over to terrorist groups, particularly the Islamic State (IS).
As regards traditionalists and Sufis, contemporary media and Western countries often depict them as the peaceful antithesis to Salafi radicalism. Yet historical evidence suggests that Sufis could resort to militant tactics when under threat. In Indonesia, the traditionalist NU partook in the 1965 communist purge in what they described as a “kill or be killed” situation. However, NU’s forceful move against the Indonesian Communist Party then would not have been possible without the prior convergence of accommodationist and militant anti-communist factions within the group, indicating the importance of internal dynamics in determining threat perception and response.
In Libya and Algeria, Sufi orders mounted an anti-colonial struggle not only to challenge imperial tyranny, but also because the “jihad helped resolve matters of leadership and legitimacy” within the movement. Hence, it can be argued that, more than theological doctrines or external oppression, organisational dynamics and characteristics provide a better explanation for radicalisation (or a lack thereof).
HTI’s Strategic Withdrawal
Founded in Palestine in 1953, Hizb ut-Tahrir is a transnational movement aimed at “bringing the Muslims back to living an Islamic way of life…which is the Khilafah state”. It was introduced in Indonesia in 1980 by a Lebanese-Australian preacher and spread through university dakwah (Islamic proselytisation) circles. The country’s democratic transition in 1998 created space for underground dakwah groups such as HTI to surface. Having registered as a mass organisation in 2004, HTI gained prominence after organising the 2007 International Caliphate Conference in Jakarta, which it claimed attracted 100,000 participants. The group has a knack for mobilising orderly protests and played an active role in the 2016 anti-Ahok mobilisation, which ultimately triggered its revocation by the authorities.
This section argues that HTI’s strategic withdrawal comprises three elements: minimising mass mobilisation; resorting to “seamless dakwah” through front organisations; and mounting intellectual – instead of reactionary – opposition.
In May 2017, around the same time as Ahok’s blasphemy conviction, the government revoked HTI’s legal status on account of violating Pancasila, the pluralist state ideology. Accompanying its dissolution was institutional stigmatisation, which saw HTI sympathisers being sacked from or intimidated by state universities, schools and government institutions. At first, HTI heeded the state policy, closing its offices and freezing all activities and media publications for a few months. However, HTI later challenged the proscription through judicial mechanisms – to no avail. To increase pressure on the government during the trial, HTI orchestrated small demonstrations by utilising different names, such as the Palembang Student Alliance for National Care and Tangerang Muslim Alliance.
By 2018, HTI had halted its flagship Black Flag Parade commemorating the fall of the Ottoman Caliphate. Its public activities are now limited to the celebration of Islamic holidays such as Ramadan, and even then, they no longer display the HTI logo and have substituted the term “khilafah” with “Islam Kaffah” (comprehensive Islam). For politically-themed mobilisation, HTI has carefully operated through cover outfits, notably the Alliance for Muslim Mass Organisations (AOMI) and Pelita Umat Legal Aid.
Apart from camouflaged protests, HTI has also exercised seamless dakwah to win over Muslim society by downplaying its organisational identity while appropriating the culture of existing Islamic streams in Indonesia. Before its forced disbandment, HTI had a Special Committee for Ulama to influence and recruit popular Muslim preachers (ustaz). While forming affiliate groups was not new to HTI, the banning made them even more expansive. HTI figures have founded new associations and educational institutions to suit major segments of Indonesian Muslim society. For instance, to infiltrate NU’s traditionalist base, in 2019 HTI founded Multaqa Ulama Aswaja, headed by a descendant of the venerated Madurese saint Kyai Kholil Bangkalan.
The pandemic did not affect the Multaqa’s productivity, as they held over 100 conferences livestreamed through their YouTube channel and website. Former HTI chairman Hafidz Abdurrahman currently runs an Islamic boarding school, Ma’had Syaraful Haramain, whose name and curriculum bear a resemblance to Salafi schools. The urban youth types in HTI have also formed their own outfits, such as the Islamic Literacy Community (KLI), which produced Historical Traces of the Caliphate in the Archipelago (Jejak Khilafah di Nusantara), a propaganda movie masked as a historical documentary.
The rationale for seamless dakwah and camouflaged opposition lies in the long-term mission and characteristics of the organisation. In the author’s interviews with HTI members and leaders, they tended to emphasise HTI’s uniqueness compared to other Islamist movements, namely, seeking a systemic change through politico-intellectual struggle by closely following the Prophet Muhammad’s political method. When asked why HTI did not mount a confrontational resistance, one grassroots activist said:
We’re different from FPI, which likes to use vulgar language in their demonstrations [and] very crude methods… That’s just not us. In HT, we conduct political dakwah with intellectual arguments and [in a] wise manner… Dakwah must go on, regardless of state pressure. However, we believe that when dakwah is not yet backed by political power, we must follow the Prophet’s method during the Mecca Phase. Muslims [then] were severely oppressed, but he didn’t fight back because they [were] still weak. It was different after they established power in Medina. Our situation now is like the Mecca Phase, if we fight back, we’d die in vain.
A former HTI leader in Central Java described HTI’s response as “hidden resistance”, stating that it is more suitable to its mission than reactionary dissent. He also said that a systemic change requires patience, since it takes time to make people understand and accept HTI’s comprehensive concepts. A HTI spokesperson further elucidated that hidden resistance is carried out through a web of “informal networks” such as schools, media and think tanks, which may not bear HTI’s name but quietly penetrate society. This is in line with HT’s goal, as outlined by al-Nabhani, of “assuming power by taking control of and leading society”.
To win the society over to its ideas, HT has relied on two methods: dialogues to entice influential members of society; and mass media to propagate messages “attacking relations between the ruling elites and the people”. From its perspective, once the ideational foundations of democracy and capitalism are shattered, the society can then be induced to support a caliphate state. In accordance with the movement’s long-term goals and characteristics, HTI’s Al-Wa’ie journal outlined the following ways to resist regime repression:
Instilling political awareness in the ummah… uncovering the evil plots of the regime [by] waging an intellectual and political resistance [and] reminding [the rulers] about the errors in their action.
HTI has been able to enforce its policies through stringent oversight and disciplinary measures, thus lowering the risk of radical elements. Some prominent figures such as Muhammad al-Khaththath were expelled when the protests they led turned violent. Ordinary members reported that if they went against the organisation’s policies, they would receive a warning letter and be suspended from weekly meetings. To date, very few ex-HTI individuals have engaged in terrorism, and those who have only did so when rival groups that provided more convincing caliphate alternatives emerged. This was the case with Bahrun Naim and a handful of HTI youth, who joined the Islamic State (IS) after its caliphate declaration in 2014 because they considered it more successful than HT. In other words, radicalisation within HTI can be attributed more to political opportunities than curtailment. And even then, HTI swiftly mitigated against further radicalisation by publicising an official ruling by its Lebanon headquarters, which discouraged international HT members from joining armed resistance in Syria.
FPI: Between Open resistance and Violence
Established in 1998, FPI has a lot in common with NU in terms of theology and ritualistic practices. However, whilst NU has cultivated a moderate image, FPI has proudly performed ‘symbolic violence’ to pursue its mission of “enjoining the good and forbidding the evil (amar ma’ruf nahi munkar)”. FPI and HTI both claimed credit for the anti-Ahok mobilisation and indeed, compared to other Islamists, they received the toughest treatment from the government. However, no HTI leader could match the charisma of Habib Rizieq Shihab, FPI’s leader, who is revered as “Grand Imam” by Islamist activists both within and outside FPI.
Consequently, the state not only dissolved and stigmatised FPI, but also went after its charismatic leader, setting off a chain of severe measures: legal harassment that drove Rizieq into exile in 2017; weaponisation of the COVID-19 pandemic to justify his arrest; and police pursuit of Rizieq which led to the extrajudicial killing of his bodyguards in late 2020. FPI, as its new leader stated, primarily responded through “open resistance within the legal parameters” i.e., eschewing violent methods. However, as will be explained below, the leadership has not always been effective in controlling the behaviour of its followers, especially when their supreme Imam was persecuted.
On December 30, 2020, Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Mahfud MD announced a Joint Ministerial Decree which declared FPI a “prohibited organisation”, stating that the group had conducted illegal anti-vice raids and that 35 of its former members had been involved in terrorism. FPI’s secretary Munarman was subsequently arrested for alleged links to IS. Experts contend that while FPI was indeed guilty of vigilantism, Munarman’s terrorism charge was unfounded. On January 1, 2021, FPI formed a new organisation with a slightly different name – from the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) to the Islamic Brotherhood Front (also FPI). As of early 2023, FPI is headed by Rizieq’s son-in-law, who has expanded its structures across 17 provinces.
This ‘resistance through formation’ has also become a preferred tactic of opposition groups in Iran, whereby activists show defiance by simply existing as aboveground movements despite official restrictions. One FPI figurehead said that, even during the height of repression, such as when the police shot dead six FPI guards who had been protecting Rizieq from arrest, they never considered laying low because it ran against their nature. As he put it:
We don’t want to become an underground movement; we’d rather choose the straight path. Ironically, HTI, the so-called “radical” group, has proven more obedient to the government. When the government disbanded them, they took their logos off and closed [their office]. But we resurfaced instantaneously. Because you’ve got to be visible to perform “enjoining the good and forbidding the evil”. Because forbidding the evil (nahi munkar) is what sets us apart from other Islamic movements… As long as the government is unjust, we [will] fight them.
Although FPI has been weakened by disbandment, freezing of assets and arrests of leaders, the group has carried on with its public activities, including demonstrations. Since 2021, FPI and its affiliate group, the Brotherhood of 212 Alumni (an organisation founded by former anti-Ahok activists), have organised dozens of demonstrations against government policies and statements, in addition to several protests directed at foreign embassies. During the annual anniversary of the anti-Ahok mobilisation on November 4, 2022, FPI organised a rally near the National Monument with the tagline: “Jokowi Step Down!”
FPI’s social media narratives are also filled with vocal criticisms of Jokowi and state security forces, highlighting the victimisation and ‘martyrdom’ of FPI guards at the hands of the police. One Telegram post even remarked that the police deserved qisas (Islamic retributive justice) for the shootings, though FPI media was quick to add that they did not advocate physical revenge, but simply through prayer. The Telegram channel clarified:
One of the infidel policemen who executed six FPI martyrs unexpectedly died. God-willing…the rest of those responsible will follow suit! Let’s recite Surah Yaseen 41 times to beg for God’s retribution, may Allah destroy them to pieces and make them die in disdain.
The arrest of Rizieq right after the shooting incident in December 2020 further enraged his followers. Some FPI members in Jakarta admitted that the night Rizieq was apprehended, they stayed up waiting for orders to attack police officers with magical “spiked bamboo that’s been filled with prayers”. They were disappointed that FPI leadership did not give them the green light to do so. Some of them subsequently joined a radical cell led by Habib Husein Hasni of Condet, East Jakarta. Hasni had previously been expelled from FPI, but continued to venerate Rizieq and therefore still commanded respect among FPI’s rank and file. The caution of FPI’s formal leadership only emboldened the Condet cell, because they believed that only they could save their Imam. In early 2021, they plotted terror attacks targeting the police and Chinese-owned businesses, all of which were foiled by Indonesia’s counter terrorism police. To be sure, FPI did not condone the Condet plot, but neither did it take the radicalisation problem seriously. Instead of acknowledging and mitigating the risk of radicalisation, an FPI spokesperson dismissed the entire Condet cell as “intelligence lackeys” bent on infiltrating and framing FPI.
The variation in Islamists’ responses to state repression is best understood as a function of their internal characteristics, particularly the degree of strategic thinking imbued in their sense of self, organisational structure and leadership. Strategic restraint has been preferrable to HTI as it serves their broader mission of cultivating public opinion in favour of a caliphate and aligns with their identity as a non-violent intellectual movement. The alternative, in their view, would lead to even more severe crackdowns. On the other hand, FPI has shown unyielding resolve because anything short of overt mobilisation would betray their very identity as an evil-combating force. Whilst some pundits have raised the threat of HTI’s radicalisation, the evidence indicates that very few HTI members have crossed over to terrorism.
The risk is even lower now with IS’ defeat and the lack of viable global caliphate projects. As for FPI, Rizieq’s early release in 2022 seems to have appeased his followers, although technically he is under house arrest until 2024. Reactionary violence may occur if Rizieq is re-arrested or harmed. The lack of technical skills and access to weaponry means that any reactionary violence by FPI individuals would likely employ simple tactics such as arson and Molotov cocktails in potential attack plots.
Before the repressive turn, Rizieq and FPI had been keen to negotiate with the police, whom FPI had considered a useful ally in combating social ills such as gambling. During the anti-Ahok mobilisation, the police was known to have engaged Islamists in a series of dialogues, such that they agreed to allow Islamists to organise a rally if Rizieq could guarantee its peaceful conduct. Now that Rizieq has served his sentence, maintaining a communication line with him would not only allow the authorities to keep a tab on him, but also enable him to help the police by holding off some of his followers’ zealous impulses.
In the lead up to the 2024 elections, Indonesian authorities are understandably worried about the security impact of identity politics, especially Islamists’ electoral mobilisation in favour of certain candidates. However, the fact that FPI and other Islamist groups are still enthusiastic about being involved in the election arguably means that they have a stake in the democratic system, broadly speaking. Therefore, Islamists’ participation in the upcoming elections should be encouraged rather than restricted – that is, as long as they adhere to the democratic rules of the game.
About the Author
Navhat Nuraniyah is a PhD Candidate at the Department of Political and Social Change, Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, Australian National University.
Thumbnail photo by Ilmi Amali Q.A. on Unsplash
 Andita Rahma, “Pengamat Intelijen Minta Pemerintah Waspadai Dampak Pelarangan FPI,” Tempo, December 30, 2020, https://nasional.tempo.co/read/1418786/pengamat-intelijen-minta-pemerintah-waspadai-dampak-pelarangan-fpi.
 “Yaqut Ungkap Eks FPI dan HTI Masih Bergerak di Bawah Tanah,” CNN Indonesia, March 30, 2022. https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20220330191715-20-778125/yaqut-ungkap-eks-fpi-dan-hti-masih-bergerak-di-bawah-tanah.
 FPI’s official slogan is “nahi munkar” (forbidding the evil), but members refer to themselves as “pejuang anti-maksiat” (fighter of immorality).
 Mark Woodward et al., “Salafi Violence and Sufi Tolerance? Rethinking Conventional Wisdom,” Perspectives on Terrorism (Lowell), Vol. 7, No. 6 (2013).
 Felix Schulte and Christoph V. Steinert, “Repression and Backlash Protests: Why Leader Arrests Backfire,” International Interactions, Vol. 49, No. 1 (2023), pp. 1-30, https://doi.org/10.1080/03050629.2023.2149513.
 Ioana Emy Matesan, “Grievances and Fears in Islamist Movements: Revisiting the Link Between Exclusion, Insecurity, and Political Violence,” Journal of Global Security Studies, Vol. 5, No. 1 (2020), pp. 44-62, https://doi.org/10.1093/jogss/ogz042.
 Christian Davenport, How Social Movements Die: Repression and Demobilization of the Republic of New Africa, Cambridge Studies in Contentious Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139649728.
 Ron Aminzade and Doug McAdam, “Emotions and Contentious Politics,” in Silence and Voice in the Study of Contentious Politics, Cambridge Studies in Contentious Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), pp. 14-50, https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511815331.003.
 Matesan, “Grievances and Fears in Islamist Movements.”
 Ruud Koopmans, “Dynamics of Repression and Mobilization: The German Extreme Right in the 1990s,” Mobilization: An International Quarterly, Vol. 2, No. 2 (1997), pp. 149-164, https://doi.org/10.17813/maiq.2.2.e6g82877674x6048.
 David Ortiz, “Rocks, Bottles, and Weak Autocracies: The Role of Political Regime Settings on Contention-Repression Interactions,” Mobilization: An International Quarterly, Vol. 18, No. 3 (2013), pp. 289-312, https://doi.org/10.17813/maiq.18.3.33688097222u6866.
 Hank Johnston, “Talking the Walk: Speech Acts and Resistance in Authoritarian Regimes,” in Repression and Mobilization, eds. Christian Davenport et al. (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005), pp. 108-137.
 Tine Gade, “Together All the Way? Abeyance and Co-optation of Sunni Networks in Lebanon,” Social Movement Studies, Vol. 18, No. 1 (2019), pp. 56-77, https://doi.org/10.1080/14742837.2018.1545638.
 Khalil al-Anani, “Rethinking the Repression-Dissent Nexus: Assessing Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood’s Response to Repression Since the Coup of 2013,” Democratization, Vol. 26, No. 8 (2019), pp. 1329-1341, https://doi.org/10.1080/13510347.2019.1630610.
 Imad Alsoos, “What Explains the Resilience of Muslim Brotherhood Movements? An Analysis of Hamas’ Organizing Strategies,” Mediterranean Politics, Vol. 28, No. 2 (2023), pp. 278–301, https://doi.org/10.1080/13629395.2021.1904368.
 FPI, like NU, belongs to the traditionalist stream which adheres to the Shafi’i jurisprudential school of thought and the Ash’arite theological school. Unlike puritan Salafis, traditionalists endorse such rituals as visiting graves and celebrating Prophet Muhammad’s birthday. FPI itself is not a Sufi order, but some of its religious leaders and members follow certain orders such as Tariqat Alawiyya and Qadiriyya wa Naqshabandiyya.
 Mahan Abedin, “Al-Muhajiroun in the UK: An Interview with Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed,” Spotlight on Terror, Vol. 2, No. 5, https://jamestown.org/interview/al-muhajiroun-in-the-uk-an-interview-with-sheikh-omar-bakri-mohammed/.
 Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC), “How Southeast Asian and Bangladeshi Extremists Intersect,” IPAC Report, No. 37 (2017), https://understandingconflict.org/id/publications/How-Southeast-Asian-and-Bangladeshi-Extremism-Intersect-id.
 Alix Philippon, “Positive Branding and Soft Power: The Promotion of Sufism in the War on Terror,” The Brookings Institution, December 13, 2018, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2018/12/13/positive-branding-and-soft-power-the-promotion-of-sufism-in-the-war-on-terror.
 John H. McGlynn and Hermawan Sulistyo, Indonesia in the Soeharto Years : Issues, Incidents, and Images, 1st ed. (Jakarta: Lontar Foundation, 2005), pp. 16-17.
 Greg Fealy and Katharine McGregor, “Nahdlatul Ulama and the Killings of 1965-66: Religion, Politics, and Remembrance,” Indonesia (Cornell University Press), Vol. 89, No. 89 (2010), pp. 37-60.
 Fait Muedini, “Sufism and Anti-Colonial Violent Resistance Movements: The Qadiriyya and Sanussi Orders in Algeria and Libya,” Open Theology, Vol. 1, No. 1 (2015), https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2015-0003.
 Hizb ut-Tahrir, “The Aim of Hizb ut-Tahrir,” July 24, 2015, https://hizb-ut-tahrir.info/en/index.php/definition-of-ht/item/7982-the-aim-of-hizb-ut-tahrir.
 Mohamed Nawab Mohamed Osman, Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia and Political Islam: Identity, Ideology and Religio-Political Mobilization, 1st ed. (Milton Park: Routledge, 2018).
 Unlike Rizieq Shihab and other Islamist figures, no HTI leaders officially joined the Islamist alliance against Ahok (the so-called National Movement to Safeguard the Fatwa of the Indonesian Ulama Council, or GNPF). Yet a closer investigation reveals that, prior to the rallies, HTI had facilitated numerous workshops regionally and nationally that advocated against non-Muslim leaders. HTI also systematically mobilised thousands of its followers to take part in the anti-Ahok rallies.
 HTI avoided large-scale mobilisation in the aftermath of the proscription for fear that a show of force might provoke harsher repressive measures by the authorities or retaliation from the pluralist counter-movement. This is because NU’s paramilitary wing had raided a number of HTI’s public events in early 2017.
 The legal basis for HTI’s disbandment came through belatedly in July 2017 when Jokowi signed a decree amending the 2013 Law on Mass Organisation. The decree, which was passed by Parliament in October 2017, abolished the trial process and other legal checks on executive power to ban any organisations deemed dangerous to the state.
 “Mahasiswi dan Muslimah Sumsel Tolak Perppu Ormas,” KoranSN.com, October 25, 2017, https://koransn.com/mahasiswi-dan-muslimah-sumsel-tolak-perppu-ormas/.
 Ghifari Ramadhan and Joko Prasetyo, “AOMI Serukan Agar Sukmawati Dilaporkan ke Seluruh Polda dan Polres,” Media Umat, November 23, 2019, https://mediaumat.id/aomi-serukan-agar-sukmawati-dilaporkan-ke-seluruh-polda-dan-polres/.
 “700 Ulama Lebih Berkumpul Dalam Multaqa Ulama Aswaja di Madura Sepakat Wajibnya Khilafah,” Multaqo Ulama Awaja TV, YouTube video, November 22, 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUJmiGcuy9A. See also Shautul Ulama, “Multaqa Ulama Aswaja di Ndalemnya Kyai Thoha Bangkalan, Bukti Ghirah Tak Pernah Padam,” February 5, 2022, https://www.shautululama.co/multaqa-ulama-aswaja-di-ndalemnya-kyai-thoha-bangkalan-bukti-ghirah-tidak-pernah-padam/.
 The name “Syaraful Haramain” means “The Two Holy Cities” (i.e., Mecca and Medina) and is therefore associated with Salafism, a strand of puritan Islam that follows the Saudi ulama establishment. Moreover, Ma’had Syaraful Haramain is registered under the At-Turats al-Islami Foundation, which bears an uncanny resemblance to the Kuwaiti Salafi foundation, Ihya al-Turath al-Islami, that once funded Salafi institutions in Indonesia. In terms of curriculum, Ma’had Syaraful Haramain focuses on Arabic with the goal of preparing students to attend universities in the Middle East, which is also a trademark of Salafi schools.
 Also popular among urban youth are HTI-affiliated ‘pop preachers’ such as Felix Siauw and Fatih Karim, whose YouTube channels have amassed a combined total of 165 million views. In addition to resuming its official publications (Media Umat and Al-Wa’ie), in 2019, HTI also created several new websites with ostensibly generic names, for example, tintasiyasi.com, lensamedianews.com and topswara.com.
 Suha Taji-Farouki, A Fundamental Quest: Hizb Al-Tahrir and the Search for the Islamic Caliphate (London: Grey Seal,1996), p. 89. The three-staged method of the HTI struggle is based on al-Nabhani’s interpretation of Prophet Muhammad’s religio-political journey (sirah). First, the stage of culturing is equivalent to the Prophet’s clandestine proselytisation in Mecca. Second, the stage of interaction with the ummah is modelled after Prophet Muhammad’s open preaching when a nucleus of the Muslim community was formed in Mecca. Third, the stage of establishing a government through seeking help from the people of power (i.e., military and political leaders) is inspired by Prophet Muhammad’s efforts to gain the support of tribal leaders from Medina.
 Author’s interview with a female activist, online, December 6, 2021.
 Author’s interview with a local HTI ustaz, Solo, November 13, 2022.
 Author’s interview with an HTI spokesman, Jakarta, November 25, 2022. Unlike the Muslim Brotherhood, HT does not concentrate on social services because their priority is to change people’s minds. In fact, al-Nabhani criticised MB’s preoccupation with charity as a distraction from true political struggle.
 Al-Farouki, A Fundamental Quest, p. 99.
 Fajar Kurniawan, “Menghadapi Serangan Terhadap Islam,” Al-Wa’ie (January 2022), https://al-waie.id/wp-content/uploads/delightful-downloads/2022/02/2022-01-Januari-alwaie-ALL-1.pdf
 Osman, Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia and Political Islam.
 Author’s interview with HTI members, Makassar, November 22, 2022.
 In response to questions from its members regarding jihad in Syria, in 2013, HTI media translated HT Lebanon’s ruling on the Syrian revolution, which was later reiterated by HTI spokesman Ismail Yusanto in 2014. Yusanto stated that jihad is an important Islamic tenet and that Muslims in Syria, Palestine and Afghanistan legitimately carried out a ‘defensive jihad’ since their homeland had been invaded. On the other hand, ‘offensive jihad’ can only be conducted with a caliph’s instruction, which has yet to exist. The ruling from HT Lebanon further suggests that HT as a political party remains an intellectual political movement and that “physical [armed] action is not the prerogative of political parties”. That said, HT did not prohibit its members from performing defensive jihad “as an individual obligation” if their country was attacked. Yusanto’s statement implied that Indonesian members had no business performing defensive jihad outside their homeland. In practice, HTI surveils the behaviour of its members and does not hesitate from expelling those who flout administrative rules, let alone breach the official ruling of HT headquarters. “Jihad, Antara Kewajiban dan Metode Perubahan,” Visi Muslim News, July 11, 2013, https://news.visimuslim.org/2013/07/jihad-antara-kewajiban-dan-metode.html; “Media Lakukan Penyesatan Opini Terkait Jihad Suriah,” Visi Muslim News, January 17, 2014, https://news.visimuslim.org/2014/01/media-lakukan-penyesatan-opini-terkait.html. See also Ahmad al-Qasas, “Q&A on the Stance of Hizb ut-Tahrir with Regard to Armed Action in Syria’s Revolution,” May 17, 2013.
 FPI was initially established as part of a regime-backed militia to counter the pro-democratic movement, but later developed into an independent group specialising in anti-vice raids. See Ian Douglas Wilson, “‘As Long As It’s Halal’: Islamic Preman in Jakarta,” in Expressing Islam: Religious Life and Politics in Indonesia, eds. Greg Fealy and Sally White (Singapore: ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute, 2008), pp. 192–210.
 Afifur Rochman Sya’rani, “The Impact of the Indonesian Government’s Crackdown on Islamists,” New Mandala, January 7, 2021, https://www.newmandala.org/what-will-be-the-impact-of-the-indonesian-governments-crackdown-on-islamists/.
 Author’s interview with an FPI figurehead, Jakarta, December 7, 2022.
 “SKB FPI Organisasi Terlarang Ditandatangani 6 Pejabat Tinggi,” CNN Indonesia, December 30, 2020, https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20201230154923-12-587958/skb-fpi-organisasi-terlarang-ditandatangani-6-pejabat-tinggi.
 “Pakar Duga Ada Obsesi Pemerintah Buktikan FPI Terkait Terorisme,” Detik News, March 30, 2021, https://news.detik.com/berita/d-5514490/pakar-duga-ada-obsesi-pemerintah-buktikan-fpi-terkait-terorisme.
 Author’s interview with an FPI figure, Jakarta, December 23, 2022.
 Ali Honari, “From ‘The Effect of Repression’ Toward ‘The Response to Repression’,” Current Sociology, Vol. 66, No. 6 (2018), pp. 950-973.
 Author’s interview with an FPI figurehead, Jakarta, December 7, 2022. The shooting incident occurred on December 6, 2021, when a police intelligence team was following Rizieq’s convoy on the Jakarta-Bogor highway. At the time, Rizieq had been ignoring police summons for questioning over his alleged breach of the quarantine regulation. Several vehicles driven by FPI guards manoeuvred to block the police car so Rizieq could get away. During the car chase, six of Rizieq’s bodyguards were shot, though the police claimed that the FPI men had fired first. An investigation by the National Human Rights Commission later determined that four of the six victims were unlawfully killed. See Tia Asmara, “Indonesian Govt Backs Prosecution of Police Who Shot Hardline Cleric’s Followers,” BenarNews, January 14, 2021, https://www.benarnews.org/english/news/indonesian/id-fpi-shootings-01142021162804.html.
 Author’s interview with an FPI figurehead, Jakarta, December 7, 2022.
 M. Faiz Zaki, “Massa Aksi 411 Tuntut Jokowi Mundur Bertahan Hingga Magrib Tadi di Patung Kuda,” Tempo, November 4, 2022, https://metro.tempo.co/read/1653285/massa-aksi-411-tuntut-jokowi-mundur-bertahan-hingga-magrib-tadi-di-patung-kuda.
 Angin Gunung Channel, Telegram, January 19, 2022.
 Angin Gunung Channel, Telegram, March 14, 2022.
 Author’s interview with an FPI activist, Jakarta, December 24, 2022.
 Verdict of Husein Hasni, East Jakarta District Court, 2021, No. 1016/Pid.Sus/2021/PN Jkt. Tim.
 “Terduga Teroris Condet Pernah Gabung FPI Aziz Yanuar: Antek Intelijen,” Kabar 24 – Bisnis.com, April 5, 2021, https://kabar24.bisnis.com/read/20210405/15/1376902/terduga-teroris-condet-pernah-gabung-fpi-aziz-yanuar-antek-intelijen.