The attack on the (Batak Pastoral Church) HKBP congregation by the Islam
Defenders Front (FPI) on Aug. 7 has evoked public demand to disband the
organization. Previously, the FPI has carried out several attacks that
were mostly based upon a religious rationale, as they freely admitted.
The HKBP attack might be the apex for the public, whereby the FPI is now
perceived as a violent and cruel organization. Indonesian Muslims might
simply oppose the FPI and label them as deviant, to undertake such
attacks in the name of Islam, as they say Islam does not teach violence.
If we refer to the Pancasila state ideology, the stance against the FPI
might be strengthened. As an essential basis of being Indonesian,
Pancasila is aimed at cultivating a pluralistic perspective in every
Indonesian. We are taught to be respectful, tolerant and fair. I believe
the FPI has violated all the values within Pancasila.
Since they were disrespectful to the non-Muslim community by attacking
them, it is a violation of article one and two of Pancasila on
disregarding others’ divinity and humanity.
It could be considered neglecting the essence of the third article too,
as they generated disorder, which threatens unity. The fourth and fifth
articles were also contravened through them resolving problems, not
through discussion but by attacking, and by ignoring social justice.
Having said that, when I referred to an opinion article by Sudirman
Nasir published in The Jakarta Post on Aug. 8, I paused to rethink. It
wrote that the FPI mostly comprised of unemployed and/or underemployed
youths. They were easily recruited because of the lack of availability
of ways for them to form an identity, and as a recognition of
masculinity. This power was undoubtedly channeled in the wrong
An ignorant government that is careless in governing the people causes
this phenomenon, in my view. It is the government that provides almost
no means for youths to educate and develop themselves responsibly. Yet,
simply presenting the problem is not enough; a solution is required to
Regarding the composition of the FPI members, mostly these youths
seeking a sense of identity, they would be better channeled into a youth
army corps. The government should be asked to generate such corps so
that the power of Indonesian young people could be useful rather than
destructive. They could act as backup for the existing Indonesia
They could fight for Indonesia and undertake projects for the sake of
the nation. Surely, this sounds a better way. Furthermore, I predict the
youths would not refuse recruitment, since the motive of being
recognized as strong and extremely masculine would be gratified.
Gilang Reffi Hernanda