06 December 2017
The Islamic Defenders Front known by its Indonesian name Front Pembela Islam has gained renewed attention after organizing a series of demonstrations against former Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama between November 2016 and May 2017. These protests, attended by approximately two to three million protesters, helped to contribute to his re-election defeat and subsequent conviction for allegedly committing a religious blasphemy.
FPI’s success in organizing the demonstrations marked another milestone in its 20-year history as a hard-line Islamist organization. Long perceived as no more than a vigilante group which uses Islamic symbols to promote its socio-political agenda, it has become a political movement with a clearly defined ideology. Despite its relatively small membership of approximately 200,000 members nationwide, it commands significant influence among other hardline Islamist groups and politicians wanting to capitalise on the group’s extensive grassroot networks to further their electoral ambitions.
FPI has developed an alliance with both the Islamic Community Forum (FUI) and HizbutTahrir Indonesia (HTI) since at least 2008, when the three Islamist organizations put pressure on the Indonesian Government to issue a decree that limits the activity of the Ahmaddiyah, a sect originated in Pakistan which is considered to be deviant by mainstream Muslims.
… Alexander R Arifianto PhD is a Research Fellow with the Indonesia Programme, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 07/12/2017