Yustinus Paat, Jakarta – Islamist vigilante group the Islamic Defenders Front, or FPI, has refused to renew permit which already expired in June, a spokesman said on Tuesday.
The permit for the establishment of a mass organization is issued by the Home Affairs Ministry, now led by Police General Tito Karnavian, who has engaged in tough anti-radicalism measures while he was the National Police chief.
FPI spokesman Munarman claimed that a lack of government permit wouldn't make FPI an illegal organization.
"An unregistered mass organization cannot be termed as illegal because the rights to public assembly and enter into an alliance are guaranteed by the constitution. That means the discussion [about FPI's permit] should stop here," Munarman said during a seminar in Cikini, Central Jakarta.
Munarman cited several regulations to support his claim that a government permit is not mandatory in founding a mass organization.
"The registration is facultative by nature. The law says [an organization] may or may not register itself," Munarman, who is also a certified lawyer, said.
"There is no legal consequence whatsoever for both registered and unregistered mass organizations. The only difference between the two is that a registered organization is entitled to financial support from the state budget or the regional government budget," he said.
Munarman claimed that during a span of 20 years since FPI was founded, the Jakarta-based organization had never accepted financial support from the state budget.
The government has said that every mass organization must adhere to Indonesia's state ideology of Pancasila and accept the 1945 Constitution. In 2017, it disbanded the Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia, another hardline Islamist group that seeks to enforce Islamic law.
The FPI is widely regarded as an organization that condones violence in spreading its influence. Its spiritual leader, Rizieq Syihab, is currently living in self-imposed exile in Saudi Arabia.