Jakarta (AsiaNews) - The Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), an organization close to the fanatic fringe of the Muslim world, has launched a new and violent attack against the upcoming Miss World contest, whose 2013 edition is scheduled in late September in Bali and Bogor (West Java), Indonesia. Their anathema was launched a few days ago, on the occasion of the celebrations for the 15th anniversary of the birth of the movement.
Together with the cancellation of the event, now in its 63rd edition, they are demanding the dissolution of the special anti-terrorist squad. The beauty contest had already sparked controversy and conflict in June leading to the cancellation of the swimsuit segment, in order not to offend the sensibilities of Muslims. The competition - adds Rizieq Shihab, leader of FPI in Jakarta, quoting former President Suharto - "is irreconcilable with our costumes, it incites sexual desire among men, and is alien to the national culture."
The attack is not only about Miss World, Shihab also invokes the "dissolution" of the popular anti-terrorism squad Densus-88, the protagonist of raids and attacks on Muslim extremist cells. The FPI claims the elite counter-terrorism squad should be disbanded because of the (presumed) series of mistakes that led to the accidental death of innocent people during the last raid. "They have made serious human rights violations - said the extremist leader - and must be held accountable to the ICC."
Indonesia is the most populous Muslim nation in the world. Although individual rights are protected under the constitution, including religious freedom, the country has seen a rise in violent attacks against minorities and laws that discriminate based on gender. In Aceh, local authorities have implemented Islamic law, the only province in the archipelago to do so; however, more and more regions are coming under the influence of radical extremist views of Islam. Increasingly, bans are imposed in personal matters and the lives of citizens.
Leading this campaign of "Islamization" are the members of the Islamic Defender Front who call the shots in different areas by imposing rules and regulations inspired by sharia, such as the prohibition of alcoholic beverages and other regulations in the field of sexual morality. The group - opposed by a large part of the civilian population - is also accused of using violence to achieve their objectives, and in the past has launched a series of attacks since 2000, affecting among others the Embassy of the United States and bars, nightclubs, and private clubs, especially during Ramadan, the holy month of fasting and prayer.