Jakarta – The government has decided to ban controversial hardline group the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) and its activities, saying that it has no legal grounds to operate as a civil organization and that its activities often violated the law and caused public disorder.
The decision to ban the FPI was made in a joint ministerial decree (SKB) signed by the home minister, law and human rights minister, communication and information minister, attorney general, National Police chief and the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) head.
"The government bans FPI activities and will stop any events organized by the FPI because it no longer has legal grounds either as a mass organization or as any other kind of organization," Coordinating Political, Law and Security Affairs Minister Mahfud MD said in a televised statement on Wednesday.
He was referring to a June 20, 2019 deadline that the FPI failed to meet to extend its organizational registration permit (SKT) with the Home Ministry.
"[Since then] the FPI, by law, has no longer been a mass organization," Mahfud said. "But institutionally, the FPI continued to hold activities that disturbed public order and security, and was involved in activities that were in violation of the law such as violence, sweeping [illegal raids], provocation and other things."
Mahfud instructed all officials from the central government and the regional administrations to no longer permit any future FPI events.
The government has been at loggerheads with the FPI in recent weeks following a string of public order and security snafus centered around the return of group leader Rizieq Shihab from self-imposed exile in Saudi Arabia.
The FPI was notorious for its unlawful raids on nightclubs, bars and restaurants, especially during the fasting month of Ramadan. In 2016, for example, FPI members raided shopping malls in Surabaya, East Java to check whether outlets had ordered employees to wear Christmas attire such as Santa hats. (ami)