Activist stripped, beaten in defense of churchgoers
A rights activist from the
Association of Journalists for Diversity (Sejuk), Tantowi Anwari, was stripped and
beaten by dozens of members of the notorious Islamic Defender Front (FPI) in the
midst of his efforts to support the Filadelfia
Batak Protestant Church
congregation’s right to attend a controversial mass.
“The FPI members were apparently angry
because I wore a t-shirt with the statement, ‘Say no to the majority’s tyranny’.
They considered my t-shirt against Islam as the country’s majority,” he told The
Jakarta Post on Sunday.
“They didn’t want to listen to any
words I said - that I was there to defend the congregation’s right to perform
He said after FPI members found him, they
dragged him and stripped him of his shirt. He recalled being beaten by the
He said he was then brought to the
FPI Tambun branch leader Nurhali Barda and then questioned surrounding his
motives for wearing such a "provocative" t-shirt and advocating the rights of
He acknowledged that Nurhali had in fact
confiscated his ID card and told him that he would keep it until he
could determine Tantowi’s role.
"In the middle of the interrogation, I was
saved by a police officer who brought me to the Tambun Police precinct,” he
When asked about whether he would like to
take any legal action regarding the incident, Tantowi said he had to discuss
the matter first with other activists before announcing future action.
fears growing intolerance due in part to what some critics perceive as an idle
state apparatus and central administration.