Denpasar. A number mass organizations in Bali gathered for the "Diversity of Republic of Indonesia" rally at the Niti Praja Lumintang square in Denpasar, Bali, on Sunday morning (22/01) to demand the disbandment of hardline Muslim group Islamic Defenders Front, or FPI.
Amron, the coordinator of the Bali Ansor Youth Movement — one of Indonesia's biggest Islamic organization Nahdlatul Ulama's youth groups — said the rally was held to promote harmony and tolerance between followers of different religious in Bali, known as the Island of the Gods.
The rally also called for the disbandment of the FPI, which Amron said had spread fake news about illegal raids allegedly conducted by Bali's traditional civic guard, known locally as pecalang.
FPI spokesman Munarman had claimed last year that pecalang had been used in Bali to attack the homes of Muslims and prevent them from conducting Friday prayers.
Amron denied Munarman's accusation and said that on the contrary pecalang are always on hand to help out Muslims and Christians celebrate Idul Fitri and Christmas.
"We strongly reject FPI's baseless accusations. Please, don't use religion to divide our people. Let's unite for a peaceful Indonesia," another rally coordinator Komang Mertayasa said, as reported by state news agency Antara.
Komang said FPI is a serious threat to the country's spirit of unity in diversity, or Bhinneka Tunggal Ika.
FPI has failed to gain a stronghold in Bali in over a decade, with residents in the Hindu-majority island often complaining about their disruptive activities.