Hard-Line Islamists Capture Spotlight in Indonesia
JAKARTA, Indonesia—Mainstream Muslims here used to dismiss the Islamic Defenders Front as a fringe group—moralist thugs who attacked bars serving alcohol during Ramadan or threatened “sinful” events such as a Lady Gaga concert.
But in recent weeks, the organization has captured center stage, sidelining moderate religious groups as it whips up public fury in mass demonstrations against Jakarta’s Christian governor, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, for allegedly insulting the Quran.
“We are in the forefront because we are used to holding rallies,” said Novel Bamukmin, a leader of the Front, known as FPI. “We are trusted.”