Indonesia's Islamist vigilantes: a threat to rule of law?

Compiled by Khabar Southeast Asia



Members of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) attend a 2010 rally in front of Indonesia's constitutional court as it debates a law on blasphemy. The FPI, a hardline group known for its vigilante-style attacks on businesses and individuals, has been accused of undermining democracy and rule of law in Indonesia. [Adek Berry/AFP]

Police seized dozens of weapons from FPI members after unrest in Paciran district of Lamongan, East Java, on August 12th, 2013. Forty-two FPI members and six local residents were arrested following a melee that broke out when the group launched raids against local businesses. [H.Manshuri/Khabar]

A female primary school teacher died in Kendal, Central Java in July 2013 after a car (pictured) driven by FPI rioters ploughed into the motorcycle she was riding. Hundreds of Kendal residents staged a protest rally to mourn her death. [Ediyanto/Khabar]

Kendal residents hold a protest on July 23rd following the death of Tri Munarti, the woman killed by a car driven by FPI members. The banner lists four demands: disband FPI, bring the FPI leader in Central Java to justice, halt further raids by the group, and enforce the rule of law. [Eddie/Khabar]

The FPI's Jakarta branch chairman, Habib Salim Alatas, speaks during a May 2012 interview after the group vowed to mobilise thousands of supporters to halt a concert by pop star Lady Gaga, whom they described as the "devil's messenger". The concert was eventually cancelled. [Romeo Gacad/AFP]

FPI members remove stocks of alcoholic beverages from a distributor's warehouse in downtown Jakarta during an early-hour raid in December, 2000. The FPI continues to launch raids against what it calls "dens of sins", trashing bars, clubs and alcohol outlets. [Ian Timberlake/AFP]

A young anti-vigilante protester in Yogyakarta carries a sign stating “Allahuakbar, but hitting?” Demonstrators from the Citizen's Movement Against Violence rallied in May 2013 to condemn an assault by the Majelis Mujahidin Indonesia (MMI) – a hardline group with an agenda similar to FPI's – on a local bookstore that was holding a discussion. [Suryo/Khabar]

People in Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan, protest the arrival of an FPI member from Jakarta on February 11th, 2012. The slogan on the banner reads "Rizieq (FPI Chairman) and FPI's minions are rioters using the name of religion". [Zone/Khabar]

Movie director Hanung Bramantyo speaks in front of Indonesia's International Hotel Circle in Jakarta on February 14th, 2013. He condemned the behaviour of extremist and vigilante groups and called for an "Indonesia without FPI". [Danie/Khabar]

A participant at a May 2012 protest in Malioboro, Yogyakarta, against the MMI group wears a T-shirt that reads "Islam is tolerance, not violence". Protesters expressed their disdain for groups that misuse Islam to justify violence. [Suryo/Khabar]

Demonstrators in Malioboro, Yogyakarta, insisted that Islam does not support religious violence against Muslims or any other religion. Demonstrators carried banners reading "Proud of being a tolerant citizen" and "Yogyakarta is a peaceful city." [Suryo/Khabar]