Actions & Demonstrations:
Decree on Islamic Defenders Front or Joint Decree 220-4780 2020, M.HH-14.HH.05.05 2020, 690 2020, 264 2020, KB/3/XII/2020, 320 2020 is a decree enacted by six ministries and departments in Indonesia to prohibit any activity related to Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and any use of its related symbols. The decree was enacted on 30 December 2020 and currently still in force. The decree was read by Deputy Ministry of Human Rights and Law, Eddy Hiariej. Indonesian government argues that Islamic Defender Fronts and its members violated law and its members accused of linked to terrorism, justifying the ban. The decree that prohibits any association with Islamic Defender Fronts and justify arrest of anyone involved in its activities or carrying any symbols related, was signed by Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Law and Human Rights, Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Attorney General, Chief of the National Police, and National Counter Terrorism Agency.
See also: Islamic Defenders Front § General_public
Calls for disbandment of FPI had been called for long time. The first call on FPI disbandment had been voiced since June 2000, when FPI vigilantes attacked National Commission on Human Rights headquarter office due to the agency investigation to former Indonesian Army general, Wiranto involvement in various human rights violations during May 1998 incidents and Indonesian occupation of East Timor. It worth to be noted that FPI, despite was established by hardline Islamic scholars, they also supported by right-wing elements in politics and military which supported the former president Suharto and tried anything to prevent it into the light.
Over years, increased vigilantism of FPI also worried public and causing unrest for many Indonesia populations. There have been demands by Indonesians, mainly mainstream Muslims, other religious organizations, political communities and ethnic groups, for the FPI to be disbanded or banned. In aftermath of Monas Incident, moderate islamic organization Nadhlatul Ulama and its wings sent open letter to Indonesia president at that time, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY), called to government to take actions against FPI, disbanding, and forbidding any of its incarnations and reincarnations. Former president Abdurrahman Wahid, in aftermath of that incident also voiced the support for disbanding FPI after visiting the victims of FPI attack at that time, voiced his disagreements with FPI use of violent ways that threatening national security and safety. However, he said that, law enforcements were not dared to do it, as FPI "supported by law enforcements itself".
A collaborative study performed by Arizona State University Tempe, Singapore Institute of Management, Sunan Kalijaga State Islamic University, and Manado State Islamic College, which published in 2013, found that there is a collusion between the government and state security forces factions with the FPI for their own gain.
It later revealed that FPI was somewhat invincible, due to enjoyed protection by piece of legislation at that time. There was an attempt to disband FPI by SBY administration, Gamawan Fauzi, Minister of Interior at that time studied the way to froze FPI activity and disestablished the organization. However, piece of legislation at that time, Ormas Law (Law No. 17 of 2013), required that disbandment process must take very long and exhaustive process, and finally must done by court decision. The regulation made government at that time cannot disband a mass organization easily. Such lengthy and exhaustive process make the disbandment process no longer pursued.
Over time, due to state's uncertainty and lack of control, FPI influence and actions increased. FPI also smartly using Islamic jargons and using large mass to further cementing its influence. At its peak of power there was a perception that "whoever against FPI were against the Islam". Such perception made the situation much difficult.
Over time, FPI gradually lost political favor with ruling government. Despite that, FPI still maintained militant mass under its umbrella. Until the end of SBY administration, FPI enjoyed good relationship with government. During 2014, FPI took stance against Jokowi, even prior Jokowi rise into presidency. After Jokowi gained presidency government and participated in various anti-government actions. FPI now turned become a pressure group to lay pressure against Jokowi and his administration. FPI also used by Islamic far-rights group and Islamist Party such as Prosperous Justice Party for motoring opposition, despite such way may result on further polarization in Indonesian people. During Jokowi's presidency, FPI also led various Islamist mass protests known as Aksi Bela Islam (Actions 411, 212, 313, 11-2, 21-2, 31-3, 5-5, and so on) which tried to undermine Jokowi's presidency and used of identity politics causing rampant smear campaign on Jokowi, branding him as "un-Islamic leader", resulting on not only defeats on Islamic provinces such as Aceh, West Sumatra, Riau, Banten, West Java, West Nusa Tenggara during the election, it also resulted on unsuccessful government programs in those area. In another side, Jokowi already grew tired with FPI and its use of identity politics. FPI also used political buzzers smartly, online or not, not only for smearing anyone who oppose them, but also building their own image which seems grandiose to the commoners and layman, to make them so "big" and "holy", despite in truth they are demonizing and harmful.
In a post-return action celebrating the return of Muhammad Rizieq Shihab, FPI launched "Revolusi Akhlak" (Moral Revolution) campaign. Despite the "Moral Revolution" name, the proposed revolution does not emphasized on the change of oneself moral, but rather revolution against Indonesian leaders which he see as "immoral leaders" and "immoral leadership" worth to be toppled. He also promoted that Indonesia should turned into Sharia based country with Tauhid as the basic of the state system. He also threatening to use weapon to open war against the government if, as they claimed, "Ulamas keep oppressed", further escalated the political tension. Fadhli Harahab, a political analyst, denounced Shihab so called revolution as "camouflage of seditious acts"  He also further added that Shihab is hypocrite, as his acts and FPI acts much immoral and acted contrary against Islamic morals standard. He also warned public to not fed with Shihab misleading statements.
Back in 2017, in a shocking move, Joko Widodo and his administration issued Government Regulation in Lieu of Law No. 2/2017. The Government Regulation in Lieu of Law (later signed into law as Law No. 16 of 2017) amended the previous Ormas Law (Law No. 17 of 2013). The new law removing the need of lengthy process and court decision in order to disband an unruly and threatening organization for sake of national unity and integrity and maintaining peace and order. The new law make government much easier to disband the organization, despite many Indonesian human right activists cried that such way may violate the human rights and declared that such way is authoritarian. Despite that opposition, Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) banned on 19 Juli 2017 with the new law. After HTI banned, Indonesian Islamic far-right groups feared their existence may threatened with the law, including FPI.
On 30 December 2020, FPI finally followed HTI fate, banned with the same law. The ban announced some time after the capture of FPI leader, Muhammad Rizieq Shihab on 13 December 2020 for his gross violations of COVID-19 restriction in Indonesia and anti-government incitement.
The decree is 6 pages in length. The content of the decree divided into three parts detailing justifications, considerations, and decisions on why FPI should be banned.
The justification part contained 7 points, summarized as:
The consideration part contained references to establish the decree. The consideration part referring Constitution of Indonesia, related laws in force, and a Constitutional Court Decision.
The decision part, deciding:
Chief of Indonesian National Police issued an edict. The edict, known as Chief of Indonesian National Police Edict No. Mak/1/I/2021. The edict prohibited involvement of public, both directly or indirectly, in FPI or FPI-related activity, encouraging public to report if there are any FPI symbols, encouraging Municipal Police (Satpol-PP) (with support of TNI - POLRI) to clear the symbols, banners, posters, pamphlets, etc., and prohibiting any sharing, access, and creation of content related to Islamic Defender Fronts online. The last point in the edict, causing concern between journalists as it, as it may limiting journalists to make news related on FPI. However, Indonesia National Police ensured that the edict is not conflicted with the right of journalists as provided and protected by Law on Press (Law No. 40 of 1999). Inspector General Argo Yuwono, Head of Indonesia National Police Public Relation Division, later clarified that, as far the content is not containing hoax, inciting conflicts, division, ethnic-race-religion (SARA) sensitive, and potentially causing public disorder and threatening public safety and security, it is still allowed.
Soon after the decree announced, on 30 December 2020, Minister of Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform, Tjahjo Kumolo, announced that a rule for regulating public servants to not joining FPI or participating with FPI activities tabled by the Ministry, State Civil Apparatus Commission, and Civil Service Agency. Sanctions also being decided, with the severe punishment will leading into the firing of the public servant proposed at that time. On 25 January 2021, the Ministry with Civil Service Agency issued Joint Decree No.2/2021 2/SE/I/2021. The decree forbids state civil apparatus members to be part, affiliated, or supporting of illegal and unlawful organizations. The decree also explicitly mentioned FPI along with previously banned organizations in Indonesia such as Communist Party of Indonesia, Jamaah Islamiyah, Millah Abraham (more renowned in Indonesia as Gerakan Fajar Nusantara or Gafatar), Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), and Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD). Sanctions also has decided, with the severe punishment will leading into the firing of the public servant.
Minister of Communication and Information Technology, Johnny G. Plate, announced that internet activity of FPI or related with it will be prohibited and limited. He also added that he will clean Indonesian digital space. The ministry also coordinated with Indonesian National Police, Indonesian State Intelligence Agency, and various Internet Service Providers, and digital platform companies that operating in Indonesia to ensure it will happen.
On 5 January 2021, Indonesian Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (PPATK), Indonesian financial intelligence agency, temporarily suspended activities and transactions of FPI and its affiliates financial accounts. 59 bank accounts suspended. The suspension enforced as follow up of the decree. These accounts currently being investigated for possibilities if there are any suspicious transactions related to money laundering or financial crime or any criminal crimes committed by FPI. M. Natsir Kongah, Head of PPATK Public Relation Division, mentioned that more than "hundreds millions rupiahs" frozen from all 59 bank accounts. Further analysis by PPATK increased the number of suspended accounts to 92. On 31 January 2021, PPATK submitted the investigation report to Indonesian National Police's Criminal Investigation Agency. On 2 February 2021, Criminal Investigation Agency's General Crime Directorate announced the start of case title. During the announcement, representative from the Police's Special Economy Crime Directorate, Special Detachment 88, and PPATK investigators also present.
After the official disbandment of FPI, FPI central committee and many FPI branches reacted strongly. South Sulawesi Regional FPI claimed the disbandment of FPI is "Great disaster for Muslim and Islam". Central Java Regional FPI vowed to rebuild the organization again after Jokowi's presidency or soon after so-called "regime change". FPI Solo branch announced that another name and form of FPI will be made. FPI Cianjur branch also lament the disbandment decision by the government. Sugito Atmo Prawiro, one of Muhammad Rizieq Shihab lawyer said that central committee of FPI will discuss about the future of FPI, either transforming into new organization or changing form into some kind of Majlis Ta'lim.
Soon after disbandment, FPI central main Twitter account announced formation of Front Pejuang Islam (English: Islamic Fighters Front) with a new motto Tetap Tegak Walau Tangan Terikat (English: Always Stand Up Straight Even Hands Are Bound), and still tried to agitating the police and the military who taking down any FPI attributes in Petamburan FPI HQ. Separately before the announcement, Ciamis branch FPI announcing same name as FPI name replacement. FPI also vowed to bring their disbandment to the court.
On the other hand, FPI disbandment is appreciated by many parties. PDI-P supported the move of the government, believing that the move are taken with deep and careful study. Nasdem also supported the move. Golkar also supported the government decision and claimed that the move is had been long time anticipated and awaited as "Public had known their track record". PPP supported the government decision for sake of public safety and national integrity. Gerindra, a long time ally of FPI, criticized the decision as "unlawful" and "unconstitutional" enough although they also support the government move to weed out radicalism and their movements. Muhammadiyah also responded and asked to the government to remain just and fair. Muhammadiyah's youth wing, Pemuda Muhammadiyah, supporting government move and decision. Nahdlatul Ulama responded that any organizations must meet the legal standing to operate in Indonesia. PKS, remained supporting FPI and criticize the government move, as, what they claimed, FPI still needed to maintain democratization process and powering the opposition against the current government. They also claimed that government already failed to ensure freedom of speech and organizing as written in the constitution.
Indonesian Youths' National Committee (KNPI) criticized the dissolution because it was unfair for being unlike Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI), which was attempted a coup. Attorney of Muhammad Rizieq Shihab, Aziz Yanuar criticized the dissolution as diversion of issues on shooting of six FPI members case in December 2020. Secretary General of Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) Amirsyah Tambunan says "educating is more better than dissolution". Politician Amien Rais also says that the dissolution was a political way to destroy Indonesian democracy.
Indonesian law experts also criticized the decree. Margarito Kamis, a law expert, said that ministerial decree is not the law and existence of the organization is not because of that organization being registered or not. Refly Harun, a law expert, said that the decree can be seen as the form of government attack against FPI to weaken FPI power, even weakening FPI ability to defending itself against many cases befallen it. Arif Nurul Imam, Indo Strategi Research and Consulting political analyst, although he appreciated the government move in another side as FPI always acts and tried to undermine national integrity, he also feared that this decision cannot kill the FPI extreme ideology and may incite FPI to go clandestine and riled the former FPI members into frenzy to further undermine national integrity. He also added that the decree may spark polemic in law experts and human right activists.
Bivitri Susanti, a law expert said that the decree is not effective, as the decree still makes possible for former FPI members to operate under new name, and constitution still granted them to organize. However, she also noted that the wording of the decree also make the decree is somewhat "court-proof", as the wording on the decree declaring the ban itself not mentioning FPI as truly "forbidden" and "disbanded" which the two words may make the flaw on the decree as can be seen as the deprivation of human rights against former FPI members. The decree treating FPI had lost its legal standing and FPI future acts as "acts against the law", making the law enforcement officers can freely move to take steps according the law.