The Indonesian Ulema Council or MUI has issued an edict forbidding Muslim shopkeepers from wearing Christmas accessories. (Antara Photo/Adwit B. Pramono)

Not in Christmas Spirit: Netizens Protest FPI Raid on Surabaya Shopping Malls


DECEMBER 19, 2016

Jakarta. The hashtag #JokowiTakutFPI ("Jokowi scared of FPI") briefly topped Twitter's trending topics in Indonesia on Monday afternoon (19/12) after hardline group Islamic Defenders' Front, or FPI, raided several shopping malls and department stores in Surabaya, East Java.

FPI conducted what they called "sweeping" raids at seven shopping malls and department stores in Surabaya on Sunday to make sure that shop owners adhere to an edict issued by the Indonesian Ulema Council, or MUI, which prohibits Muslims — including shopkeepers — from wearing Christmas accessories.

Around 200 police officers followed the FPI mob on Sunday to prevent them clashing with residents or shopkeepers at the malls in Surabaya.

On Monday at around 3.00 p.m., the hashtag #JokowiTakutFPI briefly topped Twitter's trending topics in Indonesia.

"Nothing is more embarrassing than seeing police officers protecting an FPI mob. This is a symbol of [the government's] defeat. #JokowiTakutFPI," activist Guntur Romli wrote on his Twitter account @GunRomli.

"If @jokowi keeps mum about FPI's raids, we'll vote for Rizieq [Habib Rizieq, FPI's leader] as president in 2019. #JokowiTakutFPI," Twitter celeb Rudi Valinka joked in his account @kurawa.

Meanwhile, National Police spokesman Chief Comr. Martinus Sitompul deplored FPI's attempt to spook residents into following the MUI edict.

"Raids are the sole prerogative of security officers. These FPI 'sweeping' raids are illegal and we condemn them. They should've just informed us of their demand and we'll convey it to the shopkeepers," Martinus said on Sunday.

National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian have also reprimanded police chiefs in Bekasi, West Java, and in Kulon Progo, Yogyakarta, who had issued warnings for head of companies and department stores not to tell their Muslim employees to wear Christmas accessories.