FPI apologizes to victims of clash

Chairman of the hard-line Islam Defenders Front (FPI), Rizieq Shihab, has apologized to the family of the woman who died during a clash between members of the hardline group and locals in Kendal, Central Java, and instructed all of the organization’s members not to engage in raids and vandalism.

“On behalf of the FPI, I apologize to the victims. May the deceased be accepted by Allah, and the injured be blessed with a speedy recovery,” Riziek said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

He also said that the FPI would pay compensation to the victim’s family. “The FPI will pay for the education of the victim’s son until he gets his bachelor’s degree. We will give Rp 500,000 [$50] each month,” he said.

Rizieq also promised any of FPI members who were involved in violence could face legal charges and be dismissed from the organization.

He also said that the FPI would withdraw a police report it filed against locals who allegedly assaulted FPI members or damaged its properties. “But if they were provocateurs who were actually responsible for the incident, the FPI would ask the police to continue legal processes against them.”

Kendal native Tri Munarti, who was pregnant, was killed in the fatal clash last week.

She and her husband were on a motorbike when a vehicle allegedly driven by FPI members hit them. Three other people were also injured.

The FPI members were reportedly attempting to flee an angry mob that ran amok following the FPI’s raids of a red-light district in Sukorejo, Central Java.

Following the incident, Central Java police named seven suspects, three of whom were FPI members.

In his statement, Rizieq pledged no FPI member would conduct any kind of violent acts again in the future. “FPI members are strictly prohibited from conducting sweeps and destruction of public property, let alone causing death,” he said.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, several hackers managed to deface the FPI’s official website fpi.or.id.

On early Wednesday, the homepage of the site was turned into a picture of a woman in a hijab with a darkened background.

Minutes later, the picture turned into a “fearsome long-haired ghost” with a text “Hacked by Besideo7. Serius, gan [Serously, Sir]?”. Then all the backgrounds changed to white with before “The FPI has offended the law”, and “Under maintenance forever by fake admin FPI” appeared

Later on Wednesday, the top panel of the website was replaced with a banner of JKT48, a 51-member girl group, who are wildly popular among male teen.

In a related development, Home Ministry Gamawan Fauzi said that his ministry could not enforce the newly endorsed Law on Mass Organizations against the FPI yet, because it could not take effect until early next month pending the issuance of a government regulation for its implementation.

The Mass Organization Law mandates the government to issue three reprimands to any groups causing public disturbance before finally lodging a formal request of temporary suspension to the Supreme Court.

Cabinet Secretary Dipo Alam, meanwhile, said that the government would not be able to disband the FPI because the organization itself had never been formally registered.

“The FPI is just like an informal forum where people get together and hang out,” he said at the State Palace.

Separately, Deputy Chairwoman of the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) Melanie Leimena Suharli has joined other lawmakers calling for suspension of radical groups, including the FPI, but encouraged to seek support from the country’s largest Islamic organizations, Nahdatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah.

“Support from both groups is important because they have a large number of followers. Once they make the move, all of their followers will follow suit, which make efforts to suspend FPI finally work,” Leimena of the Democratic Party said.

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