Radical Groups

Jun 9th, 2006, in News, by

The government appears willing to better deal with extremist thuggery.

First, on Thursday morning, 8th June, a number of government ministers held a meeting to discuss the handling of radical groups, presumably groups such as the Islamic Defenders Front, Betawi Brotherhood Forum, and others. Led by Widodo A.S, the Security minister, it was also attended by TNI chief Marshal Djoko Suyanto, police chief General Sutanto, and Internal Affairs minister M. Ma'ruf, among others, says kompasKompas.

Widodo said mediaindo afterwards:

The legal appartus, the police, prosecutors, and attorneys, will take firm but fair steps. The policy of the government is clear, that is, in upholding the supremacy of the law, and that the position of all people is the same before the law.
(Berkaitan itu, aparat hukum -- kepolisian, jaksa, dan hakim -- akan mengambil tindakan yang sangat tegas, namun obyektif. Kebijakan pemerintah sudah jelas, yakni menegakkan supremasi hukum, dan kedudukan semua orang sama di depan hukum.)

and General Sutanto said:

No-one will be immune from the law.
(Tidak akan ada (lagi) yang kebal hukum.)

Meanwhile Tempo says tempo that the head of the Internal Affairs information department, Andreas Tarwanto, claims that the government will arrest members of organisations that are "illegal", in that they are not registered with his department, above all those groups which are thought to disturb public order and find their raison d'etre in hatred and sectarian stirring.

Another Internal Affairs spokesman, one Suhatmansyah, is quoted as saying:

Whether it is recognised or not the activity of a number of organisations has already become worrying. If they are allowed to go on they threaten the integrity and unity of the nation.
(Disadari atau tidak, aktivitas sejumlah ormas dan LSM sudah sangat mengkhawatirkan. Kalau dibiarkan dapat mengancam persatuan dan kesatuan bangsa.)

The legal basis for these statements is to be found in two laws that deal with structures of social organisations, law No. 8 of 1985 and regulation No. 18 of 1986. Specifically the laws allow for the banning of groups which spread hatred based on religious or ethnic differences, which threaten the unity of the country, attempt to discredit the government, interfere with national development, or any other forms of activity which are thought to disturb political stability and public safety.

Suhatmansyah continued:

Based on the 1986 law the government can ban groups which receive foreign assistance without the agreement of the government, and which give aid to foreign elements which are thought to harm the national interest.
(Berdasarkan Pasal 18 PP no 18/1986, pemerintah dapat membekukan ormas yang menerima bantuan asing tanpa persetujuan pemerintah dan memberi bantuan kepada pihan asing yang merugikan kepentingan bangsa dan negara.)

The "assistance" mentioned can include funds, staffing, facilities, and equipment. One wonders whether Saudi Arabian based "charities" are to be included in this.

Further, Antara reports antara Internal Affairs Minister M. Ma'ruf will be issuing a letter to all regional administrations as a guide for putting mass and non-governmental organizations in order. Ministry spokesman Tarwanto said the letter would be used as a reference in deciding whether to dissolve organizations that are considered to be disrupting public security and order. The report states that there are 800 odd social organizations in Indonesia with half of them being registered with the ministry.

On the same day, yesterday, as the meeting of ministers was going on, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) met with Maria Ulfah Anshar, the head of the Fatayat NU, the womens' wing of the Nahdlatul Ulama. Later Maria Ulfah said kompas to Kompas:

Wer'e both concerned about the growth of groups that attempt to undermine Pancasila. He (SBY) said that Pancasila is the basis of the country which the founders of the nation built. We have agreed that it is the national ideology and we have to protect it together.
(Keprihatinan kita bersama adalah munculnya beberapa kelompok yang ingin menggoyahkan Pancasila, bahkan mengganti Pancasila. Pesan beliau, Pancasila ini adalah landasan negara yang sudah dibangun oleh para pendahulu-pendahulu kita, sehingga ketika ini sudah kita sepakati menjadi sebuah ideologi bangsa maka ini harus kita jaga bersama-sama.)

But SBY did not mention any groups, such as the FPI, by name:

He didn't mention any of them but they do exist and he said to us that although Muslims were the majority he hoped the Fatayat NU would be protectors of minorities.
(Memang tidak menyebutkan, tapi itu memang ada dan beliau memesankan kepada kami untuk meskipun Islam itu mayoritas, tapi berharap kepada Fatayat agar bisa jadi pengayom terhadap minoritas.)

While in the Jakarta Post there appeared some useful background to much of these events, from Riwanto Tirtosudarmo. The anthropologist Clifford Geertz, he says, wrote 50 years ago:

... archipelagic in geography, eclectic in civilization, and heterogeneous in culture, Indonesia flourishes when it accepts and capitalizes on its diversity and disintegrates when it denies and suppresses it.

When Geertz wrote this armed Islamic rebellions that dragged on for years were relatively common in the newly formed nation. But as recently in the case of Aceh it was possible for solutions to be found. Problems remain however:

Protecting the external border of Indonesia is not a problem. The internal border, however, is under serious threat. The country's inner borders, separating different cultural groups defined either by their location, ethnicity or religious beliefs, are increasingly unstable and the previous sense of Indonesian nationhood seems to be fading away.

The flourishing expression of freedoms following the demise Soeharto's government eight years ago is welcome as an important part of the transition to democracy. Recently, however, it has been seen as triggering intolerant attitudes between different cultural groups. In the last five years a strong desire to create new provinces and districts has appeared, often motivated by narrow ethnic or territorial sentiments.

Most alarming, however, is the increasing radicalism and intolerance to be found in Muslim communities demanding the stricter implementation of sharia law. Some Muslim groups have begun taking aggressive action toward people and groups belonging to different religions or belief systems that they perceive as not upholding the pure teachings of Islam.

The brutal attacks by radical Islamic groups on the people and property of Ahmadiyah are clear examples of such intolerant behavior, in this case happening within the Muslim community itself. A claim of "religious purity", not practiced in public, however, constitutes the driving force behind the attitudes of the radical minority groups.

Bars, brothels and Western hotels, particularly American ones, have been attacked by the members of these groups.

In some regencies, the enactment of sharia laws and the support the pornography bill has received, reflect the extent to which Islamic beliefs have penetrated the state's legal institutions. The fact that the majority of Indonesian citizens are Muslim has been manipulated by a handful of Muslim leaders to claim that it is thus only natural that sharia laws be implemented in Indonesia.

Imposing an Islamic ideology will only aid in the disintegration of Indonesia, as several provinces are predominantly non-Muslim, and will fight against accepting Islam as the state ideology. The imposition of Islam in this way will undoubtedly threaten the country's diversity and help in its collapse.

Today, more than sixty years after the country's independence, Indonesia's inner borders, the imagined social boundaries that reflect the cultural diversity of Indonesian society, are increasingly under threat. The threat comes not from the outside, but from within Indonesian society itself. The threat from within is very different from the threat from without, as it directly challenges the social fabric of the country.

Since its independence, Indonesia has continuously struggled to strike a balance between the different political ideologies that constitute a challenge to its inner borders and between the center and the regions that challenge the spatial integration of the country. At present, the challenge is more from within than without.

June 10th, 2006. A wrap up of events and items of interest concerning the debate over whether to ban radical groups.

Pancasila

The Pergerakan Mahasiswa Islam Indonesia (PMII), Islamic Students Movement, a part of the Nahdlatul Ulama, says suaramerdeka that Pancasila represents an ideal "middle way" through the path of competing ideologies in Indonesia, specifically religious radicalism and free market-based liberalism.

Pancasila, said the chairman of the PMII Hery Haryanto Azumi, a graduate of the Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University in Jakarta, was able to overcome all the problems that faced Indonesia because within its principles were the essentials: faith in god, social justice, equality, and unity.

He went on to say that the PMII, like NU boss Hasyim Muzadi, regarded the status of Pancasila as the national ideology as settled, final.

The rejection of Pancasila is the rejection of the existence of the Indonesian unitary state, a state which upholds diversity. The PMII will keep firm to Pancasila as the basis of the state.
(Penolakan terhadap Pancasila merupakan penolakan terhadap eksistensi Negara Kesatuan Republik Indonesia yang mengedepankan kebhinekaan. PMII akan tetap mempertahankan Pancasila sebagai asas negara.)

See more on the PMII's attitude to Pancasila at Hukum Online. hukumonline

Banning

University of Indonesia criminologist Erlangga Masdiana suggested antara that the government cancel its plan to disband a number of mass organizations which were involved in violence and vandalism, as it may only create new problems in the society. He said:

There is no need to dissolve such mass organizations. It would only create new problems, instead of solving existing ones. They can always be banned today, but tomorrow they will have a new organization under a different name.

Meanwhile the Internal Affairs Minister Ma'ruf said antara that Law No.8/1985 on Mass Organizations would be evaluated, revised and adjusted to Law No.32 /2004 on Regional Government. He said the government had had discussions with the House of Representatives on the evaluation and revision of the the mass organization law. The revision was expected to be complete by next year. Maruf said:

We will insert a new article into the law to empower the government to take supervisory actions, including the dissolving of organizations disturbing security and order

Asked if the move would contravene the Constitution that guarantees the freedom of association, Ma'ruf said people had the right to organize and express their opinions but were prohibited from using their organizations to attack others in the name of religion or to disrupt security.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who led a coordination meeting on security last week, said the government would take firm action against violent organizations.

It had previously been stated during a meeting on political, security and legal affairs that the government would "freeze" the executive board of any mass organization that was making a nuisance of themselves. The minister called on mass organizations not to disturb public security and order because the government would uphold the law and take firm measures against anyone or group who disturbed order.

When asked whether the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and the Betawi Rempuk Forum (FBR) would be "frozen", the minister only said that the freezing of an organization would not be done out-of-the-blue.

There will be a process of evaluation and persuasion. But at the same time we are determined to uphold the law and democratic process in Indonesia.

Chairman of the parliament (DPR RI) Agung Laksono said detik that para-military organisations especially had to be acted against.

Groups which terrorise and threaten must be acted against, including groups which have military attributes....[and] including groups which have religious attributes.
(Ormas-ormas yang menebarkan teror dan ancaman silahkan ditindak, termasuk ormas yang pakai atribut militer. Termasuk organisasi yang memakai atribut agama tertentu)

But he advised that the matter be proceeded with carefully and according to the law:

Our nation is a nation of law and all things must be done in accordance with legal procedures.
(Negara kita negara hukum semua harus dilakukan sesuai dengan prosedur hukum yang ada.)

Vice-president Jusuf Kalla assuaged detik the (paranoid) fears of some that the move against radical groups had some connection to the recent Donald Rumsfeld visit.

There's no connection with Rumsfeld or anyone else.
(Tidak ada hubungannya dengan Rumsfeld dan siapa saja.)

and he added his support for the proposed measures:

We forbid all forms of radicalism which cause damage. It's a problem of breaking the law. If you want to think in an extremist fashion go ahead but don't break the law.
(Semua cara radikal yang merusak, itu kita larang. Jadi ini persoalannya dengan melanggar. Mau berpikir keras, silakan, asal tidak melanggar hukum.)

Former president Abdurrahman "Gus Dur" Wahid, himself (and his wife Sinta Nuriyah) a recent victim of intimidation, also voiced kompas his support for efforts to combat "anarkisme". He complained that until now the growth of radical and extremist groups had met with almost no action at from the government and police. They broke the law, frightened people, but had gotten away with it. He said these things while visiting the Bekasi police station near Jakarta, apparently in an attempt to meet with members of the Islamic Defenders Front who are being held in custody over this incident.

From the national police similar words were to be heard suaramerdeka. Brigadier General Anton Bachrul Alam:

The attitude of the police is clear, as an upholder of the law we will arrest and process anyone, including members of social groups which carry out criminal acts.
(Sikap Polisi sudah jelas, sebagai lembaga penegak hukum akan menangkap dan memproses hukum terhadap siapa saja termasuk anggota ormas yang melakukan tindak kejahatan.)

Previously he said the police had repeatedly "reminded" groups of their obligation to obey the law and then had arrested those who failed to listen. He rejected accusations that in fact the police had not taken serious action against criminal actions by Islamic and other radical groups.

Opposition

There have been few voices raised against plans to better control extremists. The chairman of the Forum Betawi Rempug (FBR), Fadholi El Muhir, is one who has made known mediaindo his fierce opposition to any plans to disband problem organisations.

It's against the Constitution. Indonesia is a democracy isn't it, because every person has the right to gather together or form groups.
(Hal itu bertentangan dengan UUD 1945. Indonesia ini kan negara demokrasi, karena itu setiap orang berhak untuk berserikat atau berkumpul.)

Individuals who break the law should be dealt with, he said, but the bodies which they belong to should not be held responsible and certainly should not be banned.

Religion of Peace

The Minister of Religion says radical Islamic groups misunderstand Islam, which he says is essentially peaceful. Maftuh Basyuni, as reported gatra in Gatra, concerning the issue of radical groups, such as the FPI (Islamic Defenders Front), and whether the government should ban those which incite hatred, said:

If Islamic organisations cause trouble then questions have to be asked. It's clear they don't understand Islam.
(Kalau ormas Islam kemudian anarkis itu perlu dipertanyakan. Itu jelas orang yang tidak mengerti Islam.)

He added:

...any organisations which act badly have to be dealt with. [But] don't just limit it to religious groups, especially Islamic groups.
(...ormas mana saja yang berbuat tidak benar harus ditindak. Jangan dibatasi pada ormas keagamaan saja, apalagi Islam.)

May 24th 2007. Two people died in a clash between rival ethnic associations in Jakarta between the Betawi Brotherhood Forum (FBR) and the Betawi Families Association (IKB) in Kebayoran Lama market, South Jakarta. Hundreds of members of the two Betawi gangs fought for control of a parking area and illegal levies from traders in the market. One other FBR member was also seriously injured. Police said the brawl started when several members of FBR attacked members of IKB, who have controlled the parking area for years.

As a result the debate over the banning of such thuggish groups has resurfaced with various government officials saying that the government could use Law Number 8 of 1985.


One Comment on “Radical Groups”

  1. avatar pascal says:

    all gov’t officials should be drug tested-if fail they should be shot.oh what the hell ,shoot them all anyway- thier all lying,thieving,murdering SOB’s.who the fck do they think they are to tell us how to live are lives. are we the average joe going to be asked to join them in thier bunkers when shit starts hitting the world fan.No,they will turn thier backs on the rest of the world so thier rich fcking sorry asses can survive what they know is coming fast.too late for honest humans. I see & dream things of what is coming NOT GOOD . TIME TO GET RID OF ALL FCKING GOVERNMENTS.IT’S ONLY MATTER OF TIME BEFORE BARACK IS ASSASSINATED. JUNE 1/11 IS WHEN CIA PLANS TO DO IT AND BLAME ALKEDA . So americans will let gov’t continue wars to keep $$$$$$$$$$ coming in for bunker upgrades. fck them all to hell. mans greed is going to be the end.gov’t bunkers or underground bases have everything for survival except $$$$$$$$$$$$. the economy is about to drop & we are all f*cked unless we have are own personal hiding places. ONCE AGAIN FCK ALL GOVERNMENTS TO HELL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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