Monday, February 14, 2011

Presidential Spokesman Says Govt Will Not Bow Down to FPI Threat

Jakarta Globe, Indonesia
Presidential Spokesman Says Govt Will Not Bow Down to FPI Threat
Camelia Pasandaran | February 14, 2011

Presidential spokesperson Julian Aldrin Pasha on Monday strongly denounced threats aired by a hard-line Islamic group against President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s administration.

“We will not allow any violence to take place or threats against individuals or groups as well as the head of the state,” he said at the State Palace.

In his strongest comments since the killing of three members of the Ahmadiyah Islamic sect and anti-Christian unrest, Yudhoyono last Wednesday called on authorities to disband any organization that urged its members to resort to violence.

“If there is an official public group or mass organization that has repeatedly conducted or even suggested violence, legal authorities must disband the organization, according to the rule of law and democratic ethics,” Yudhoyono said in Kupang, West Timor, on Wednesday.

In response, the hard-line Islamic Defender’s Front (FPI), which is known to resort to violence, denounced the call and threatened to topple the government if it tries to dissolve the group.

In the State Palace’s first response to the threat, Julian on Monday said the president has heard of the statement but did not give an direct response.

“However, we know that the system will have to work, violence has to be stopped,” Julian said, adding that the president did not want Indonesia to return to the dark days following the fall of President Suharto in 1998.

“If there are any groups or even legitimate organizations that resort to violence, cause public unrest and victimize others, law enforcers should use legitimate means to solve it, including to disband these organizations,” he continued.

He said the 1985 Law on Mass Organizations gives the government the authority to disband organizations that disturb public order.

However, the coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs clarified that the government’s statement was not addressed to any specific organization.

“It is not solely for the FPI, but to all mass organizations,” Djoko Suyanto said. “I read about the threat. But again, [the president’s statement] was meant for the organizations that resort to violence. Don’t misunderstand it.”

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