FPI Vows More Pressure on Bekasi to Follow Islamic Principles

Aday after the Bekasi government sealed another Protestant church because of constant pressure from hard-line groups, the Islamic Defenders Front said on Tuesday that it would insist that the city issue policies in line with its view of Islam.

The Jakarta suburb is increasingly becoming a religious battleground as hard-line Islamists claim that Christian zealots have targeted the community.

On Sunday, as a conservative Islamic congress discussed a plan to bring Bekasi more in line with its interpretation of Islam, city officials sealed the HKBP (Batak Christian Protestant Church) Pondok Timur Indah church in Mustika Jaya subdistrict.

‘The congress officially set down 32 points of recommendation that it will forward to the Bekasi city administration to strengthen Islamic values. We are going to announce the final version of those recommendations this Sunday and issue them,’ Abdul Qodir Aka, an official from the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), told the Jakarta Globe.

‘One of the two primary recommendations is that we want the administration to work toward a Bekasi that is in line with Islam’s principles. The other one is that the local administration must avoid making policies that will hurt the Muslims of Bekasi.’

The administration pulled down the ‘Tiga Mojang,’ or Three Girls, statue on Saturday. The statue at the Harapan Indah residential complex was dismantled after demonstrations by hard-line pressure groups that deemed the sculpture at odds with conservative Muslim views, despite its artistic merit in the eyes of many.

Abdul said the Islamic c ongress in Bekasi was held after a number of Islamic organizations ‘ including the FPI and the Bekasi Islamic Missionary Council (DDI Bekasi) ‘ made it known to Bekasi Mayor Mochtar Mohammad that more demonstrations would target his office if the congress was not allowed.

He said that on June 13, Mochtar signed an agreement with FPI Bekasi frontman Mur??hali Barda on behalf of hard-line groups that contained four primary points, one being that the ‘Tiga Mojang’ statue must be removed as soon as possible and that the HKBP Pondok Timur Indah church must be sealed.

Bekasi administration spokesman Endang Suharyadi acknowledged that closing the church was part of the June 13 demands.

‘But we acted on it because the congregants held prayers in a place where they were not supposed to. So the demands [of the Islamic organizations] had a legal basis,’ Endang said.

HKBP Pondok Timur Indah members have been worshipping in a house at Mustika Jaya since 2004, after their request to build a church was ignored by the local administration. The congregation’s 1,500 members have since been meeting in private houses.

Bekasi secretary Tjandra Utama Efendi said: ‘We’ve warned them [members] over and over but they never listened. We also offered them a hall at the Bekasi Social Agency.’

The Rev. Gomar Gultom of the Indonesian Communion of Churches (PGI) on Tuesday demanded that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono act on the intimidation and threats suffered by certain religious groups.

‘Last month there were text messages that went around calling all Bekasi Muslims to gather strength because Bekasi has been besieged by churches,’ he said.

‘Those are baseless accusations. If churches have increased in number, it is normal, because the population is growing, not because of Christianization.’

‘I never experienced anything like that here. I never think bad of people, especially when it comes to faith and religions. To me faith is a private thing.’

Iwan Dwi Setiawan, 39, a machine-shop owner, said: ‘Even in Islam we have ‘for me it is my religion and your religion is for you.’ I think the government should be more assertive toward certain groups. Like the ‘Tiga Mojang’ statue, most people I know feel it’s a shame that it was removed.’

Fredy Yanto, operational director of the Harapan Indah developer, PT Hasanah Damai Putra, said the statue was currently ‘resting’ at its office until the company decided what to do with the now-famous artwork.

Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika denied reports that he wanted to buy the statue.


About indonesianurbanfamily

We are a young, Indonesian urban family who are exposed to many things in our lives. This is what we see, hear, think, feel and desire.
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4 Responses to FPI Vows More Pressure on Bekasi to Follow Islamic Principles

  1. Hagupit Ni says:

    Once you become a muslim you die a muslim. You can enter but you can’t get out. The price for leaving Islam is death. So it is normal for Muslims to kill whenever there is conversion of a muslim or whenever they deemed there is change to their usual life. Killing after all is always associated with Islam.

    • I do not think when one muslim converts into other religion, then the price is death. One of my neighbors converted into Catholics from Islam, and he has been fine and gets wealthier more and more each day. Nobody touches him…

      I just think that you misunderstand what Islam is. There are many schools of thought or denominations in Islam. When I put articles on FPI, because I do believe they have made terrors to others including muslims themselves. But, to analyze FPI, you should learn that FPI was established and funded by at least three militar general, which I do not know their names (check tempointeraktif.com). So, it is never really about Islam. They just use Islam to express their interests and anger…

      • Hagupit Ni says:

        “The price for leaving Islam is death” is a statement I got from my co-workers in Libya, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain. They are all professionals and citizens of their own country which made me believe Islam is very dangerous as Mohammad they are following.
        I don’t analyze FPI. It is just my quick reaction to what I read. Nothing can be badder than killing. No amount of fatwa, ritual or “halal” can camouflage the evil it has inside. This is one of the bad traits of Mohammad not to mention pedophilia. That makes every muslim susceptible.

      • Maybe, that’s the intepretation of theirs which i absolutely disagree. However, that’s ‘Arabic’ intepretation to Islam and Muhammad.

        In Qur’an just like in Bible, killing one human means killing humankind. In other article, Qur’an says ‘My religion is mine, our religion is yours’. With these two paragraphs, I think one should not kill other human being for he/she converts into other religions. So, I say your esteemed colleagues are wrong, my friend.

        ‘Arabic’ intepretations has huge differences to our ‘Indonesian’ intepretations. Indonesian Islam tends to moderate intepretation to Islam and as a country of the largest muslims in the world, we are entitled to our own intepretations and deny such unbelievably mistaken intepretations to Islam. 🙂

        Please, do come to Indonesia. you will get different ideas of our country and religions in Indonesia.



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