Indonesia bans hardline Islamic Defender’s Front group

JAKARTA: Indonesia has banned the controversial and politically influential hardline group, Islamic Defender's Front, the chief security minister announced yesterday.

Minister Mahfud MD said the group, widely known by its acronym FPI, has been prohibited with immediate effect.

"The government has banned FPI activities and will stop any activities carried out by FPI," Mr Mahfud said.

"The FPI no longer has legal standing as an organisation."

The ban follows last month's return of the group's spiritual figurehead Rizieq Shiha from three years of self-exile in Saudi Arabia, which was celebrated with events attended by thousands.

The 55-year-old cleric was arrested this month, charged with violating health protocols and remains in custody, while a clash between the police and his supporters - in which six of his bodyguards were shot dead - is being investigated by the national human rights body.

Deputy justice minister Edward Omar Sharif Hiariej said the FPI was outlawed because nearly 30 of its leaders, members and former members had been convicted on terrorism charges, and because the group conflicted with the nation's state ideology, Pancasila, which emphasises unity and diversity. - REUTERS