JAKARTA – Around 200 followers of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) protested on Friday in Jakarta against Facebook’s blocking of the group’s accounts due to their radical content.
The protesters, dressed in white, marched from al-Azhar Great Mosque to the Facebook office in southern Jakarta holding placards and chanting “Allah is great.”
“Why (does) Facebook (have a) phobia of Muslim accounts?” or “We talk the truth... Bring back our accounts,” read some of the signs carried by the demonstrators.
The FPI is the most active Islamist organization in Indonesia and has hundreds of profiles on Facebook, most of which have already been blocked, and other social media sites, as well as offices in most of the provinces of Java and Sumatra, the country’s most populous islands.
In the past, the group has fought against the sale of alcohol during Ramadan, the holding of events in support of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community and the use by Muslims of symbols from other religions, among other things.
Another of its campaigns was against the then governor of Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, a Christian of Chinese origin, whom they accused of blasphemy, leading him to not being re-elected and being sentenced to two years in prison in May 2017 on charges of blasphemy.
Indonesia, with over 115 million users, is the country with the fourth largest number of Facebook users in the world, according to Facebook Indonesia country director Sri Widowati.
Indonesia has a population of 260 million, out of which 88 percent are Muslims, mostly moderate, although non-profits and activists have reported a rise in Islamic radicalism in the country in the last few years.