Jakarta – The hard-line Islam Defenders Front (FPI) has pledged loyalty to the five principles of Indonesia's state ideology Pancasila, Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi said on Wednesday.
"We have seen an improvement. The FPI has made a statement to declare loyalty to Pancasila and Indonesia," Fachrul said after a closed meeting with Home Minister Tito Karnavian and Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Mahfud MD on Wednesday.
Despite the FPI's move to declare loyalty to the nation, the government will not immediately be extending the organization's registration permit (SKT). Fachrul said that the government is to examine the group to see if it has fulfilled other requirements before granting its request to extend its SKT.
The requirements include obtaining a recommendation letter from the Religious Affairs Ministry.
In August, Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko said that the FPI should clearly express its loyalty to Pancasila and, therefore, it should remove the terms "caliphate" and "Islamic state" from its organizational principles.
Article 6 of the organization's principles states that the FPI's vision and mission is to "uphold Islamic sharia" under a khilafah 'ala minhajin nubuwwah (prophetic caliphate).
The organization itself denied that they planned to replace the country's ideology with the concept of a caliphate.
Mahfud confirmed the government has yet to grant the FPI's request to extend its organizational permit, despite its pledge of loyalty. "The FPI already applied for an SKT extension, but upon further examination we still have to check on some things," Mahfud said.
He said he believes that the Religious Affairs Ministry would not take long indicate its approval of the request before handing it over to the Home Ministry, which would then process it.
Mahfud emphasized that FPI members have the right to form a union, as well as express their opinions. However, they also have to follow the existing laws.
The FPI's organizational permit expired on June 20. The organization applied for an extension through the home minister, who could not grant it since the organization still had to obtain a recommendation from the Religious Affairs Ministry, as well as fulfill other administrative requirements. (dpk)