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Islamic party PKS defends hardline group as 'Stop FPI' petition gains momentum

CNN Indonesia - May 8, 2019

Jakarta – The deputy chairperson of the Islamic based Justice and Prosperity Party (PKS), Hidayat Nur Wahid, says that he doesn't agree with the petition against the Islamic Defenders Front's (FPI). Wahid believes there is nothing wrong with the ormas [social or mass organisation] formed by Rizieq Shihab because it has never done anything negative like commit maker (treason) or separatism.

The petition hosted on the change.org website contains a call for people to come together to reject the extension of the ormas' permit.

"What indeed is wrong with the FPI? Legal wrongdoing must be viewed clearly, right. The FPI has never urged [people] to commit maker, never called for acts of separatism, has never supported narcotics, corruption", said Wahid at the Nusantara III building in Jakarta on Wednesday May 8.

The deputy speaker of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) added that the FPI as an ormas has always supported good activities such as the eradication of narcotics and corruption.

Wahid also compared the FPI with the Free Papua Movement (OPM) saying that no one is pushing for or making a petition calling for the OPM to be disbanded, despite often committing acts of separatism.

"What's clear is that [the ones] causing riots are the OPM. How come no one has made a petition to disband the OPM?", asked Wahid.

Wahid claims that this is not the first year that a petition against the FPI's permit extension has been launched. It has happened in previous years but was overcome because the ordinary people now that the FPI is in the forefront [of fighting drugs and corruption].

"Even if there are 100 thousand who sign petitions such as this there will be millions more who will support the FPI", said Wahid. "So I think that in a democratic country, let everything occur democratically, but use common sense as well", said Wahid.

As has been reported, the petition against the FPI on change.org has already been signed by more than 100 thousand people as of Wednesday morning. Ira Bisyir, the person who initiated the petition, is inviting the public to reject the permit extension of the organisation formed by hard-line Islamic cleric Rizieq Shihab.

As of 9.15 am West Indonesia Time, as many as 111,710 people had signed the petition.

The petition titled "Stop the FPI's Permit" (Stop Ijin FPI) was started two days ago. Bisyir initiated the petition because he believes that the FPI is a radical organisation.

"Bearing in mind the expiry of the FPI's organisational permit in Indonesia, let us together reject the extension of their permit because this organisation is a radical group, a supporter of violence, and supporter of the HTI [Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia]", reads the petition. (sas/osc)


According to another article by CNN Indonesia on the same day, the petition has now garnered some 209,652 signatures and is still growing.

The FPI was founded by the military in 1998 to counter student demonstrations following Suharto's overthrow and has since gone on to adopt a conservative religious ideological platform that is used as a camouflage to extort money from entertainment venues, gambling and prostitution businesses.

The group has been at the forefront of violent attacks on "deviant" religious and minority groups and those that it deems to be immoral, communist or against the state ideology of Pancasila. Its leader and founder, Rizieq Shihab, who is currently hiding in Saudi Arabia after fleeing pornography related charges, is a fervent critic of President Joko Widodo and supporter of rival presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "HNW soal Petisi: Memang Kesalahan FPI Apa?".]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20190508140140-20-393037/hnw-soal-petisi-memang-kesalahan-fpi-apa