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NGOs demand dissolution of FPI


The Jakarta Post, 10/9/2002 7:38:30 PM

NGOs demand dissolution of FPI

JAKARTA (JP): Over 2,000 demonstrators of several non-governmental groups (NGOs) called on Wednesday the dissolution of the radical Islam Defenders Front (FPI), saying that the incessant raids on nightclubs and entertainment centers had tarnished the image of Islam.

"Violent raids and anarchy carried out by FPI's recent raids cannot be tolerated as it's against the law and the teachings of Islam. Don't make Islam a part of the group's interests," said Al Habib H. Ahmad Nizar, head of the consulting committee of the Nation Defenders Front (FPN).

FPN is one the groups that came to city police headquarters to support the charges being laid against FPI.

Habib Ahmad Nizar, popularly known as Habib Aan, urged the police to start legal proceedings in order to bring all suspects to court.

"We support the city police's action of charging those responsible for the anarchy," he said.

Habib Aan said that he also wanted to reprimand FPI commander Habib Rizieq Shihab over stating the possibility that FPI had been controlled by other unscrupulous groups, which were out to ruin Islam's image.

Another group voicing a similar concern was Ansor, the youth wing of the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), one of the largest Muslim organizations in the country.

Tatang Hidayat, who leads the group, said Ansor members took part in the rally following a statement from NU chairman Hasyim Muzadi, who is against FPI's raids.

Also participating in the rally were hundreds of employees from nightclubs around the city.

Nuke, an employee of a karaoke club in Blok M, South Jakarta bluntly called the raids "uncivilized".

"They continuously threaten our business to shut down for a full month (during the Islamic fasting month). They simply stop our source of income and give us no alternative," said Nuke.

The groups staged a rally at city police headquarters following a report that the police planned to question Rizieq about the recent violence and similar attacks over the past two years.

Some representatives from the group met with city police chief Insp. Gen. Makbul Padmanagara in support of the police's move to stop FPI's string of violence.

Rizieq will be questioned next Wednesday.

Last weekend the Central Jakarta Police arrested 13 FPI members following recent attacks by the organization's activists on a number of nightclubs and billiard halls in Jakarta last Friday. Five members were released, while the other eight were charged with violating Article 170 of the Criminal Code on disturbing the peace for taking the law into their own hands.

According to the Criminal Code, those convicted ofdeliberately or jointly using overt violence against people or property are subject to a maximum sentence of five years and six months in prison.

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