Laughing at extremists may be best medicine

It’s easy to get irate at the disgusting racism, xenophobia and bigotry expressed by religious extremists of all kinds. And when they are allowed to get away with thuggish violence – like the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) in Indonesia – it’s downright depressing.

But humour is probably the sharpest weapon normal people have in their armoury against such freaks, and some mysterious Indonesian Twitter users are putting this theory to the test, according to The Jakarta Globe.

The “Islamic Destroyers Front” are using the microblogging site to mock the brutes of the FPI, who threaten and intimidate everyone in Indonesia with almost total impunity.

Tweeting through @FPIYeah, the spoof FPI has more than 20,000 followers.

Rote learning of the Koran is described thus: “If we can memorise, why should we use common sense?”

FPI fanatics think it’s important to imitate the dress of the prophet Mohammed, so they get around with wispy little beards, skull caps and pants that are too short.

“Don’t try to be righteous. Try to ‘look’ righteous. It’s easier and faster to gain respect in the world,” @FPIYeah said.

Another Tweet mocked: “Any religion must be practiced with blind fanaticism. It’s better to get into heaven than respecting one another”.

The Globe reported that the author is rumoured to be movie director Joko Anwar but FPIYeah authors denied this. “We’re not him. We’re not as smart as him,” they said.

The real FPI’s latest stunt is to order their fanatics to hunt down the editor of Indonesia Playboy. The magazine only ran two editions in Indonesia in 2006, featuring no nudity, but was forced to close amid threats and violent protests by Islamic radicals.

Charges of indecency against Erwin Arnada were dismissed in 2007 but the state, urged along by the government’s pets in the FPI, took the matter to the Supreme Court which is expected to sentence him to two years’ jail.

Erwin wrote on Twitter that he was not afraid of the FPI and condemned the criminalisation of the press in Indonesia as a a “threat to the media and people who dare to speak and to create”.

The authorities are in cahoots with the FPI despite the country’s secular constitution and its obligations under international treaties to guarantee  freedom of religion.

Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo earlier this month attended the group’s anniversary celebrations in the capital, shocking civil society activists.

(Photo courtesy of squid697 via flickr)


One response to “Laughing at extremists may be best medicine

  1. Interesting tactic: mocking their religious beliefs.

    Funny, why can’t we do that in the U.S. without being labeled an Islamophobe or a bigot?

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