When Islamic hardliners attacked a church under construction in Jakarta’s eastern suburb of Bekasi a few days ago, police arrived in force and were eventually forced to fire teargas to disperse the mob. Not long ago, they would have stood idly by and done nothing. Police links to groups like the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), which have been used in the past as a proxy stand-over force to extract protection money from businesses, go back to the pre-democracy period under former dictator Suharto when Islam was otherwise repressed. The difference now is police chief General Tito Karnavian, former head of the elite Detachment 88 counter-terrorism unit and widely viewed as an incorruptible professional. Hand-picked by President Joko Widodo last July, Karnavian will serve until 2023, a longer period in the job than any of his predecessors.Full Article: Pre-election risks, spiked by extremism, rise in Indonesia | Asia Times.
Mar 29 2017