The FPI Islamic extremist movement is outlawed
by Mathias Hariyadi

Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Minister Mahfud MD made the announcement today. A video shows some members of the group declaring their affiliation to the Islamic State and supporting its presence in Indonesia. Meanwhile, controversial Islamist leader Rizieq Shihab remains in prison for violating health protocols.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – In an official statement released today by Indonesia’s Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Minister Mahfud MD, the Indonesian government announced that the notorious Islamic Defender Front (FPI) is illegal and banned.

According to the minister, one of the reasons behind the decision is a video showing members of the group declaring their affiliation with the Islamic State (IS) group and their full support for its presence in the country.

As of today, the FPI has no legal status in Indonesia and the organisation must be dissolved.

The video showing shared intent with IS “forensic evidence” of guilt; for this reason, all the group's activities must be stopped and the group has no legal standing anymore. Six Indonesian ministers signed the decree imposing the ban.

In reality, the movement was already outlawed. On 20 June 2019, the government dissolved several extremist groups, including Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI).

“The group has been de jure banned since last year but its members have committed serious offences, including sudden raids against night clubs and entertainment venues as well as carried out violent deeds, provocations, and acts of persecution.”

Meanwhile, controversial FPI leader Rizieq Shihab remains in jail after he was remanded in custody for violating health protocols after his return from self-imposed exile in Saudi Arabia.

After his controversial return, he took part in his daughter’s wedding at the family residence in Petamburan, Central Jakarta. 

The decision to crack down on the FPI and officially ban it was prompted by a violent clash between Shihab’s armed body guards and police in early December. Six people, all FPI body guards, died in the shootout.

The extremist leader was also caught up in a diplomatic incident between Indonesia and Germany.

A German diplomat was expelled as “persona non grata” after she recently tried to visit Shihab.

Following the expulsion order, which gave the issue greater visibility, the German Embassy to Indonesia issued a statement, saying that the visit was personal, and not authorised by the diplomat’s superiors.