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German Embassy Apologizes for Diplomat's Visit to FPI Headquarters

Jayanty Nada Shofa & Farouk Arnaz
December 21, 2020 | 12:20 pm
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FPI leader Rizieq Syihab greets his followers in Ciawi, Bogor, West Java on Nov. 13, 2020. (Antara Photo/Arif Firmansyah)
FPI leader Rizieq Syihab greets his followers in Ciawi, Bogor, West Java on Nov. 13, 2020. (Antara Photo/Arif Firmansyah)

Jakarta. The German Embassy in Indonesia has apologized for their recent diplomat's visit to the hardline group Islamic Defenders Front, or FPI, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said on Sunday. 

The report of a German diplomat's visit to FPI's secretariat in Petamburan on Thursday has caused an uproar. On Sunday, the ministry had asked the embassy for clarification and to show protest against the meeting. In response, the embassy's chief representative confirmed that the staff was, in fact, in FPI's headquarters. 

"But the visit was on the staff's own initiative, without any order nor knowledge of the embassy. For this, the chief representative has expressed their apology and regret this event," the Foreign Affairs Ministry wrote in their official statement.

The chief representative also assured the visit does not reflect the German government or the embassy's policy. Nor was it a form of support to FPI.

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"The German Embassy also asserted their support and commitment to continue their bilateral partnership with Indonesia to fight intolerance, radicalism, and hate speech," the ministry said.

The ministry has asked the embassy to release an official statement. The embassy will also repatriate the diplomat to take responsibility for their actions and to clarify to the German government, the ministry added.

Connection to Terrorism

For the past few weeks, FPI has been sitting in the hot seat for numerous reasons, starting from their leader's return to Indonesia, suspected breaches of Covid-19 protocols, to the group's connection to terrorism.

According to Benny Mamoto, the head of the University of Indonesia's police and terrorism studies research center, at least 37 FPI members or former members are involved in terrorism. These people have also received a verdict for their actions.

"There are those involved in a terror act, whether they have joined a terrorist network or those who [were at the time] still active [in FPI]," Benny, who is also a National Police Commission commissioner, told Jakarta Globe's sister publication Beritasatu on Thursday.

In response, FPI general secretary Munarman claimed not everyone on the list is an FPI member and claimed the statement was just an attempt to discredit the hardline group following the deadly shooting of six of its members by the police two weeks ago.  

"They have been sentenced, and on that list, not everyone is FPI members. This is only a distraction from the massacre and the gross violation of human rights [in the shooting of six FPI members]," Munarman also told Beritasatu.

He said Benny's statement was only a spiral of violence directed to FPI through labeling.

"This violence by the state apparatus repeats and continues to justify state apparatus brutality," Munarman said.

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