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Jakarta Post

Vigilantism: A relic of the past, now threatening the future

Jakarta   /   Tue, June 13, 2017   /   03:19 pm
Vigilantism: A relic of the past, now threatening the future Stay defiant -- Islam Defenders Front (FPI) Habib Rizieq Shihab gives a press statement after his questioning at the Jakarta Police on Jan.23. (Antara/Reno Esnir)

Indonesians may feel relieved now for the government and police have acted swiftly and firmly on cases of vigilantism done by radical group Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) towards people who commented on the pornographic case involving the group’s leader Rizieq Shihab.

National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian said that the vigilantism violated the laws and would be firmly dealt with. Two men directly involved in intimidating a 15 year old boy of Chinese descent in East Jakarta have been arrested. Solok Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Susmewalati Rosya was replaced over her inability to prevent the persecution of a physician at Solok Regional Hospital, Fiersa Lovita.

It is in our hope that other vigilantism cases will be handled justly by the national police.

So far, the Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration shows commitment to uphold the rule of law and to punish those who violate the basic principles of the Unitary State of Indonesia, state principles Pancasila and state motto Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity).

The purpose of the radical group members are clear, they are committing a political terror to silence the people and to discourage positive reaction towards government’s action. More specifically, they want to spread anti-Jokowi sentiment on the grassroots level.

The government had previously banned the anti-Pancasila and anti-diversity Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI). While FPI is not banned (yet), there are a lot of indications that FPI sponsors various anti-Pancasila and anti-diversity sentiments.

Rizieq has been repeatedly reported to the National Police's Criminal Investigation Department (Bareskrim) for his various public statements that contain elements of religious blasphemy, insults on the country’s first president Sukarno, Pancasila, and Sundanese people.

It was Sukmawati Sukarnoputri who reported Rizieq for his insult on Sukarno and Pancasila, which stated that, “In Sukarno’s Pancasila, belief in one and only god [the first principle] is on the butt, while the Jakarta Charter’s is in the mind.” 

The meaning is clear, Rizieq wishes to reinstate the Jakarta Charter’s version of the Pancasila, implying a more Islamic Indonesia that upholds sharia law. He aims to change the revolutionary spirit of our founding fathers, who did not want to see Indonesia become an Islamic country, due to the country’s diversity principle. Hence, it is obvious that Rizieq has violated the essence of the first Pancasila principle which has been recognized as the state’s foundation.

Rizieq has been named suspect in a pornography case, with other cases still in the investigation process. These cases can lead to the disbandment of FPI in Indonesia.

The last National Awakening Day commemoration on May 20 gave a ray of hope since the government and various political organization seized the moment to emphasize the importance of defending our unity, the pluralistic Indonesian nation that embraces various cultures and traditions including that of Chinese-descent.

Jokowi brings back a habit from Sukarno’s regime in celebrating the birth of Pancasila every June 1. The celebration holds a significant meaning since on June 1 1945, Sukarno presented the basic principles of Pancasila as state foundation in the BPUPKI meeting, supported by the country’s founding fathers. Sukarno firmly stated that Pancasila reflects the main characteristics of the nation: upholding interreligious tolerance, pluralistic Indonesian nation, a just and civilized humanity, democracy, and law that guarantees social justice.

Our founding fathers clearly intended a nation that is against sharia, that upholds democracy, against racism, against vigilantism and other human right violations, and also against corruption that eats away people’s welfare. The motto Bhinneka Tunggal Ika emphasizes this anti-racism view and shows that Indonesia is against the tyranny of majority and oppression towards minority. 

Indonesian government under Jokowi administration’s firm stance against vigilantism or intimidation has been a correct one. Vigilantism is an obvious crime that violates not only the law but also Pancasila. 

To gather people’s support in defending the state, Pancasila, our diversity and the constitution, it is important for the government to spread awareness of the past. Under the New Order, there were a lot of violations of the basic principles of the nation.

From 1965 to 1967, Soeharto’s regime not only supported but also led the mass killings of millions of innocents, capturing and prisoning hundreds of thousands, and persecuting many others. Hundreds of thousands of prisoners of conscience and persecution of those seen as leftist continued for decades. All these violations of law and Pancasila happened without adequate legal process. Ironically, Soeharto justified these violations, saying that he was upholding Pancasila and implementing the constitution. 

Now, several figures who rely on the support of Islamic radical organizations –that wish to turn Indonesia to an Islamic state based on sharia law— are a part of political force involved in those past violations.

They are also those who become opposition of the Jokowi administration, who want to continue the corrupted system that has disadvantaged the people. If the 2019 presidential election runs similarly with the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial election, with money politics and intimidation based on race and religion and other legal problems, these people can once again lead the nation.

Imagine yourselves what will happen. 


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