The Islamic Defenders Front Demonization, Violence and the State in Indonesia

Mark Woodward, - and Mariani Yahya, - and Inayah Rohmaniyah, - and Diana Murtaugh Coleman, - and Chris Lundry, - and Ali Amin, - (2014) The Islamic Defenders Front Demonization, Violence and the State in Indonesia. Springer (8). pp. 153-171.

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Official URL: http://10.1007/s11562-013-0288-1


In this paper we explore the ways in which the Indonesian Front Pembela Islam (Islamic Defenders Front–FPI) uses hate speech and demonization to legitimize violent attacks on organizations and individuals it considers to be sinful or religiously deviant, and civil discourse to establish credibility and respectability.1We argue that the use of a discursive frame established by fatwa (legal opinions) issued by the semi-official Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI–Indonesian Council of Muslim Scholars) and tacit support from powerful political factions enable FPI to conduct campaigns of demonization and violence with near impunity and to avoid being labeled as a terrorist organization. We elaborate on a distinction between what the Center for Religious and Cross-Cultural Studies (CRCS) at Gadjah Mada University calls the two faces of FPI (Bagir et al. 2010a). The CRCS report distinguishes between civil and uncivil modes of FPI discourse and praxis. The civil mode seeks to establish the organization’s credibility in the public sphere. It presents FPI as the ally of authorities in attempts to control deviance and assisting those in need, especially victims of natural disasters. The uncivil mode uses demonizing rhetoric to build and maintain a base for violently confronting, brutalizing and sometimes killing those it deems deviant.2 We show that FPI has not two, but three faces: one civil; a second that dehumanizes and demonizes enemies; and a third explicitly calling on members and supporters to attack and kill them. FPI discourse becomes increasingly violent as the audience they are engaging changes from the general public to in-group religious gatherings. While it demonizes nearly all of its opponents, FPI targets for physical violence only those who lack official status and protection. Factions within the government and police are reluctant to curb FPI violence for fear of appearing “un-Islamic,” or because they sympathize with the group’s goals despite their criminality. Collusion between elements of the security forces and FPI is a significant factor contributing to the seeming disconnect between official discourse that condemns violence and practices that accommodate or even facilitate it.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Indonesia . Islamic Defenders Front . Hate Speech . Terrorism . Sufism
Subjects: Organisasi > ORGANISASI ISLAM
Divisions: Artikel (Terbitan Luar UIN)
Depositing User: Dra. Khusnul Khotimah, SS, M.IP -
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2022 21:23
Last Modified: 20 Apr 2022 21:23

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