Why Is Central Kalimantan So Interesting To The FPI?

More than a thousand Dayak people held a demonstration at Tjilik Riwut Airport, Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan, in December last year. The action was held to reject the arrival of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) Chairman Muchsin Al Attas, who planned to come to induct officials of Anti-Corruption Institutions Fighters 45 (Lembaga Antikorupsi Pejuang 45-LAKI P45). The demonstration was not held to reject the anti-corruption agenda; rather the Dayak people considered LAKI P45 to be an imitation of FPI itself. So what makes Central Kalimantan so interesting to FPI that it wants to hoist its flag down there?

The FPI has never been able to get a foothold into Central Kalimantan. The Dayak people and other elements of society in general reject the existence of the FPI because they think the radical organization just likes making a scene. It’s not surprising then that the community has an anti-FPI impression. The Dayak people live in a multi-ethnic society that has existed peacefully for years.

The FPI’s good intention to build LAKI P45 is full of prejudice about whether corruption in the province governed by Agustin Teras Narang is so terrible.  Referring to the report conducted by the Indonesian Forum for Budget Transparency (Fitra), which was launched in the most corrupt province in Indonesia two years ago, Central Kalimantan is in position 24 of the 33 provinces. The top five positions are Jakarta, Aceh, North Sumatra, Papua, and West Kalimantan. This doesn’t mean Central Kalimantan is in good shape and we absolutely want all provinces in Indonesia to have zero corruption. However, using the graft and corruption of institutions as reasons for entering a territory seems too naïve. There seems to be something that the FPI is chasing as its hidden agenda.

The Dayak people who joined the demonstration were genuinely concerned about the FPI’s actions in Kalimantan. The FPI had done several sweeps and even disrupted the Ahmadiyah community in Samarinda, East Kalimantan. Reportedly, the number of Ahmadiyah followers in Central Kalimantan is the largest in Kalimantan, although it is not clear how many of them there are. Previously, three years ago exactly, a man named M. Mulkani said that the Ahamadiyah leaders of the Java area were thought to have fled to the outlying areas of Kalimantan. Mulkani, claimed to be the Chairman of the Central Kalimantan FPI, said this when he participated in an FPI demonstration in front of the presidential palace demanding President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono issue immediately a presidential decree disbanding the Ahmadiyah.

Rejection of the Ahmadiyya has occurred since the 1930s.  Further rejection ensued in the form of objection and the destruction of houses, mosques, and prayer rooms belonging to the Ahmadiyya in various areas, including in Medan (1964), Cianjur (1968), Kuningan (1969), West Nusa Tenggara (1976), Central Kalimantan, South Sulawesi, West Kalimantan, Surabaya, Parong, Bogor (1981) Riau, Palembang, Sumatera Barat, East Timor, and Jakarta (1990).

While it abated for several years, lately the rejection has reappeared in some areas. The newest wave of Ahmadiyah suffering began around 1999, when Ahmadiyah Lombok was attacked by people who wanted them to convert their beliefs.  This led to the expulsion of all Ahmadi in Bayan. In 2001, Ahmadiyya Pancor, East Lombok was targeted for attack. These believers were also forced to leave their village, and they have been living in an evacuation shelter for seven years. Violence against Ahmadiyah congregations has risen dramatically since the Suharto regime, and rose higher during the reign of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono after he issued a decree in 2008 which was considered as anti-Ahmadiyah.

Hopefully the FPI’s hidden agenda is only a mere suspicion because the fact that the FPI has a sub-organization concerned with the issue of corruption would be interesting good news. However, it’s quite ludicrous when an organization, which claims to have tens of thousands of followers, more frequently sweeps night clubs and other amusement places rather than sweeping the state institutions that have become nests of corruption or perhaps raiding the houses of the real corruptors.

About Rina Hutajulu 17 Articles
Rina Hutajulu is an independent journalist for the Dekker Centre focusing on political studies of civil society movements and environmental issues in Indonesia. She writes for various on line media and print media as well. Rina is based in Jakarta.

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