JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Jakarta’s Military Commander has delivered the strongest warning yet by officials against the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) after the group repeatedly defied Covid-19 health protocols following the return of exiled chief Rizieq Shihab last week.
“If necessary, [the government] should disband the FPI. If they want to challenge the military, bring them on,” said Army Major General Dudung Abdurachman at the National Monument [Monas] on Friday, November 20.
“Who does [FPI] think they are, acting like they are above the law?”
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The two-star general confirmed that his soldiers took down the FPI’s banners near their main offices in Central Jakarta’s Petamburan district, as shown in a video that went viral on Twitter on Thursday, November 19.
“I issued orders to take down the FPI banners. The Public Order Agency [Satpol PP] first took them down as they were installed without a permit, but the FPI put them back up,” Dudung asserted.
“[The military] intervened [to uphold the law]. This country has laws, there are laws on putting up banners, a tax to put them up, and places designated for their installation. Again, [the FPI] should not do as they please like they are above the law.”
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He added that the military will continue taking down FPI banners throughout Jakarta, among them in the Central Jakarta district of Tanah Abang near Petamburan.
“I am warning [the FPI] not to disrupt the country’s unity [and create division] by presuming to represent [Indonesian] Muslims,” Dudung said.