Keeping with the Halloween theme for one more day, take a look at this scary little man spotted in central Jakarta recently.
He’s a member of a state-sponsored gang of Islamist extremists called the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), who go around bashing up moderates and communists and transsexuals and bar-goers and Christians and anyone else they deem – according to their uneducated and paranoid world view – to be a threat to Islam. They do so with the open backing of the police, who created them in the aftermath of the fall of the Suharto regime.
This hooded exemplar of the movement was attending a rally in central Jakarta (outside the Hyatt hotel and upmarket Plaza Indonesia shopping mall), where lots of barely literate FPI thugs shouted Allahu Akbar at the ignorant, xenophobic and fanatical rantings of a few extremist “clerics”. Mostly they were expressing hatred for a group of Christians who had dared to hold prayer meetings in public because they had been denied permission to build a church. One FPI leader is in jail awaiting trial over the unprovoked stabbing of a church elder and the beating of a female priest.
It was quite a challenge getting this creep’s photo. He ran away at the sight of the camera. Even with his fetching hood and Afghan hat, he didn’t want publicity. The strange thing was that the rally was nothing but a publicity stunt to get attention and make the FPI seem bigger than it really is.
I’d love the FPI to show up while President Obama is in town next week but I’m sure their uniformed handlers will keep them well and truly under wraps. This is moderate, tolerant, modern and democratic Indonesia, after all!