The Islamic Defenders Front's (FPI) permit as a mass organization expires on June 20. (Antara Photo/Rivan Awal Lingga)

FPI's Permit Expires Next Month

BY : CARLOS KY PAATH & CHRISTIAN LEE

MAY 09, 2019

Jakarta. Islamist vigilante group, the Islamic Defenders Front, or FPI, has yet to submit a request to the Ministry of Home Affairs for an extension of its permit as a mass organization, which expires in six weeks.

The government requires every mass organization to register or extend their permits with the home affairs ministry.

"I have not read the request letter from the mass organization [FPI]. Of course, every mass organization whose permit has expired must request for an extension at the home affairs ministry. Our team will conduct an evaluation," Home Affairs Minister Tjahjo Kumolo said on Wednesday.

"But the principle is that every mass organization in Indonesia must accept Pancasila and the 1945 Constitution. In principle," he added.

An online petition calling for the ministry to reject the FPI's permit extension surfaced on Monday. It had been signed by about 260,000 people by Thursday morning.

The petition deems FPI a supporter of Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), another hardline Islamist group that was disbanded in 2017 through a presidential decree on mass organizations.

Unlike the FPI, however, the HTI does not condone violence and prefers to spread its influence through dakwah, or missionary activities.

"What we know, is that the FPI and HTI are different," Tjahjo said.

He said every citizen has the right to organize and assemble, which includes forming mass organizations and political parties. However, he stressed that every mass organization must adhere to Indonesia's state ideology of Pancasila.

"The government does not have the authority to detain or restrain a person or group of people who want to form a mass organization or gather in a forum. Again, as long as they accept Pancasila as the main ideology," Tjahjo said.

The FPI still has a month to extend its permit before it expires.

"The concerned mass organization has not [yet] requested a permit extension. It expires on June 20, so there is still time," said Sudarmo, director general for political affairs and general administration at the home affairs ministry.

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