Indonesia: The Islamic Defenders Front and the Indonesia Mujahidin Council in Acheh

Sisters in Islam
Statement by the government in exile of Acheh.
The government of Acheh in exile, the PNA/ASNLF, deplores the arrival in Acheh of members of the thuggish so-called Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and the terroristic Indonesia Mujahidin Council (MMI).
The introduction of these organizations into Acheh at this most critical time squanders scarce resources by the Indonesian government which is better allocated to the victims of the recent tsunami.

The FPI and MMI are not welcome in Acheh and have never been supported by the Achehnese people, nor has their presence been requested. The FPI has been involved in sectarian killings in Maluku and Central Sulawesi and illegal attacks against non-Muslims and others in Java and elsewhere.

The FPI, which is made up of street thugs and minor criminals, was established as a militia by TNI generals on 17 August 1998 to act as a vanguard against Indonesia’s pro-democracy activists. It has since become infamous for attacking nightclubs and other places it claims contradict the teachings of Islam.

However, as is well known, the FPI has used these attacks to extort ‘protection’ money from bar owners. The FPI continues to act with the support of, and on behalf of, TNI generals, and is clearly in Acheh on their behalf.

The MMI, which is the umbrella organization for groups such as Laskar Jihad, Laskar Jundullah and the FPI, was established in 1999 and headed by the leader of the terrorist organization Jema’ah Islamiyah, Abu Bakar Ba’asyir. It has the explicit aim of turning Indonesia into a non-democratic fundamentalist Islamist state. MMI’s military wing, Laskar Mujahidin, used TNI sourced weapons in sectarian operations in Maluku and Central Sulawesi in 2000 and 2001.

The actions and words of both the FPI and MMI are against the teachings of the Holy Qur’an and the Hadith and contradict the tolerance and faith of Achenese Muslims. Neither the FPI nor the MMI has any credentials or skills in disaster relief, and their presence is clearly intended as a provocation to the people of Acheh. Their intervention in Acheh is therefore counter-productive and is not wanted.

At a time when the international community is so generously assisting the people of Acheh, the Indonesian government is wasting valuable funds by assisting these criminal organizations to travel to and stay in Acheh. It is thus showing that it is not concerned for the welfare of the Achehnese people, but is cynically intent on causing more chaos for the suffering people of Acheh.

The PNA/ASNLF also deplores the continuing military operations against its forces in Acheh, who have declared a unilateral ceasefire in order to facilitate the relief effort. Again, this diversion of scarce resources at such a desperate time shows the Jakarta government is not concerned with the welfare of the Achehnese people, but only with its colonial military domination of our homeland.

We therefore call on the international community to demand that the FPI and MMI leave Acheh, and that the Indonesian government immediately call a halt to military operations. Like Achehnese forces, it should focus its efforts on helping the Achehnese people in this time of their greatest need, or it should get out.

Bakhtiar Abdullah,
Information Officer