The rising influence of mainstream Muslim groups in Indonesia

With the hardline FPI reined in, the likes of Muhammadiyah, NU and MUI are not only filling the void but also asserting greater sway over government policies, from vaccine choices to investment decisions.

Residents waiting for their turn to get the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine during a mass vaccination at a housing apartment in Surabaya earlier this month. The Jokowi government could not roll out the vaccines it had procured without a fatwa from the Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI) being obtained first. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
New: Gift this subscriber-only story to your friends and family

The banning of FPI (Front Pembela Islam) in December last year may have reduced the incidence of vigilante actions in Indonesia. But this belies the fact that mainstream Muslim organisations have increasingly stepped in to uphold more conservative Islamic strictures, albeit through less confrontational ways.

Prior to its official banning on Dec 30 last year, FPI (also known as Islamic Defender's Front), the vigilante group led by radical cleric Habib Rieziq Shihab, had played a major role in moral policing and enforcing Islamic strictures in Indonesia.

Already a subscriber? 

Read the full story and more at $9.90/month

Get exclusive reports and insights with more than 500 subscriber-only articles every month

Unlock these benefits

  • All subscriber-only content on ST app and

  • Easy access any time via ST app on 1 mobile device

  • E-paper with 2-week archive so you won't miss out on content that matters to you

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.