Morality Racketeering: Vigilantism and Populist Islamic Militancy in Indonesia
Unlike Islamist groups ostensibly concerned with the overturning or radical transformation of the state, or Islamic political parties seeking to wrest power via elections, Islamic vigilante groups in Indonesia such as the Defenders of Islam Front, or Front Pembela Islam (FPI) have pursued a socially conservative ‘anti-vice’ and ‘anti-apostasy’ agenda against the perceived liberal excesses, ‘licentiousness’ and moral corruption of contemporary Indonesian society, which are seen as threatening the cohesiveness and integrity of the wider Islamic community.1 This mission, framed by the Quranic edict of amar makruf nahi mungkar, usually translated as ‘enjoining good and forbidding evil’, has been operationalized via violent attacks on ‘dens of iniquity’ (tempat maksiat) and religious minorities, street protests and mobilizations, together with attempts at ‘capturing’ and wresting control of local neighbourhoods from competing predatory and violence-wielding groupṣ2 Organizationally it has developed a nation wide branch system, with the central leadership based in the central Jakarta district of Pertamburan. Street level action has been combined at the local and national leadership levels by alliance building and patronage with political elites, which has enabled them to continue since 1998 with little in the way of sustained legal sanction and with an increasing capacity to exert leverage over local government and the police.3
KeywordsPolitical Party Political Elite Gated Community Central Leadership Islamic Community
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Abrahams, R. (1998) Vigilant Citizens: Vigilantism and the State, Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
- Abuza, Z. (2003) Militant Islam in Southeast Asia: Crucible of Terror, Boulder: LynneGoogle Scholar
- Reinner. Aditjondro, G. J. (2001) ‘Guns, pamphlets and handy-talkies’, in L. Wessel and G. Wimhofer (eds) Violence in Indonesia, Hamburg: Abera-Verl, pp. 100–28.Google Scholar
- Ahram, A. (2011) Proxy Warriors: The Rise and Fall of State-Sponsored Militias, Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
- Albertazzi, D. and D. McDonnell (2008) Twenty-First Century Populism: The Spectre of Western European Democracy, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Antara News ‘FPI mengancam tindak Greenpeace’, 2 August 2011, available at: http://www.antaranews.com/berita/269911/fpi-ancam-tindak-greenpeace (accessed 26 December 2013).Google Scholar
- Barker, J. (2007) ‘Vigilantes and the state’, in Tony Day (ed.), Identifying with Freedom: Indonesia after Suharto, New York: Berghahn Books, pp. 87–94.Google Scholar
- Cribb, R. (1991) Gangsters and Revolutionaries: The Jakarta People’s Militia and the Indonesian Revolution 1945–1949, Honolulu: University of Hawaii.Google Scholar
- International Crisis Group (2008), ‘Indonesia: Implications of the Ahmadiyah Decree’, Asia Briefing No.78, 7 July.Google Scholar
- International Crisis Group (2012) ‘Indonesia: “Christianisation” and intolerance’, Asia Briefing No114, 24 November.Google Scholar
- Kompas (1999) ‘13 Jam Diduduki FPI Kantor Gubernur DKI Lumpuh’, 14 December.Google Scholar
- Lastania, E. (2012a) ‘Pemuda Muhammadiyah kritik FPI’, Tempo, 12 February, available at: http://www.tempo.co/read/news/2012/02/18/078384837/Pemuda-Muhammadiyah-Kritik-FPI (accessed 24 December 2013).
- Lastania, E. (2012b) ‘DPR desak pemerintah tegas pada Ormas bermasalah’, Tempo, 18 February, available at: http://www.tempo.co/read/news/2012/02/18/078384835/ DPR-Desak-Pemerintah-Tegas-pada-Ormas-Bermasalah (accessed 24 December 2013).
- Platzdasch, B. (2011) ‘Religious freedom in Indonesia: the case of Ahmadiyah’, ISEAS Working Paper: Politics and Security Series No.2.Google Scholar
- Ropi, I. (2007), ‘Regulating worship’, Inside Indonesia, 89: 7–8.Google Scholar
- Roy, O. (1996) The Failure of Political Islam, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Saragih, B. BT (2011) ‘Wikileaks: National police funded FPI hard-liners’, The Jakarta Post, 5 September.Google Scholar
- Sidel, J. (2006) Riots, Pogroms, Jihad: Religious Violence in Indonesia, Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
- Tampubolon, H. D. (2011) ‘Mass organizations can provide security’, The Jakarta Post, 30 July.Google Scholar
- Tajuk (1999) ‘Pesan Buat Para Pembela Islam’, 22 December.Google Scholar
- Tempo (1998) ‘Berjihad Mendukung Sidang’ 30 November 1998.Google Scholar
- The Jakarta Globe (2011) ‘FPI add voice to threats against Greenpeace’, 3 August.Google Scholar
- Voice of Islam (2012) ‘Dukung FPI, Umat Solo kecam percobaan pembunuhan Ustadz FPI’, 17 February, available at: http://www.voa-islam.com/news/indo-nesiana/2012/02/17/17791/dukung-fpi-umat-islam-solo-kecam-percobaan-pembunuhan-ustadz/ (accessed 24 December 2013).
- Voice of Islam (2010) ‘Fatwa MUI tentang pluralisme agama’, 18 January, available at: http://m.voa-islam.com/news/liberalism/2010/01/18/2686/fatwa-mui-tentang-pluralisme-agama/ (accessed 24 December 2013).
- Voice of Islam (2012) ‘Dukung FPI, Umat Solo kecam percobaan pembunuhan Ustadz FPI’, 17 February 2012, available at: http://www.voa-islam.com/news/indonesiana/2012/02/17/17791/dukung-fpi-umat-islam-solo-kecam-perco-baan-pembunuhan-ustadz/ (accessed 24 December 2013).
- Wilson, I. D. (2008) ‘As long as it’s Halal: Islamic Preman in Jakarta’, in Greg Fealy and Sally White (eds), Expressing Islam: Islamic Life and Politics in Indonesia, Singapore: ISEAS Press, pp. 192–210.Google Scholar
- Witular, R. A. and H. D. Tampubolon (2011) ‘Islam Defenders mutating into splinter cells for hire’, The Jakarta Post, 16 July.Google Scholar
- Yusron, U. and A. Mandiri (2012) ‘FPI denounces criminal element within organization’, The Jakarta Globe, 2 June, available at: http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/news/fpi-denounces-criminal-element-within-organization/521810 (accessed 24 December 2013).