Viral video shows C. Java police standing up to FPI & refusing to let them into supermarket to sweep for ‘Christmas attributes’

On Sunday, police in Surabaya escorted members of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) as they ‘swept’ through malls throughout the city (sweeping being the term to describe hardliner groups going to different venues looking to intimidate those who violate their religious rules) in order to ‘socialize’ the recent fatwa against Muslims wearing ‘attributes’ of non-Muslim holidays (which here boils down to Santa hats) issued by the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI).

The police’s apparent support of FPI’s sweep outraged many throughout Indonesia, leading National Police Chief Tito Karnavian to condemn the action and make clear that MUI’s fatwas were not law and that police should always act firmly against hardliner groups attempting to do sweeps.

It looks like at least some police officers in Indonesia took Tito’s commands seriously. This viral video that was uploaded to the Sukowati Channel on Youtube shows a confrontation between members of the local branch of FPI and police in Sragen, Central Java, yesterday.

The FPI members were apparently attempting to enter the local Mitra supermarket in order to see if the Muslim employees were being forced to wear Christmas clothing.

But instead of escorting them in, the dozen or so police officers posted by the supermarket refused them entry. 

“We just make sure that inside there none of our {Muslim} brothers and sisters were using Christian attributes,” Sragen FPI chief Mala Kunaifi protests to the officers in the video. 

Not long after, Sragen Police Chief Cahyo Widiarso arrives on the scene. Mala tries to explain why his men are there but Cahyo is having none of it and asks them to leave the premises immediately. 

Mala and his men don’t budge. The FPI insist that they should be allowed inside to check the situation. Mala says the police shouldn’t prohibit them but should instead escort them inside. 

“No, I told you no!” Cahyo fires back firmly. Mala still refuses to move and continues arguing with the police chief. Cahyo says mass organizations are not allowed to do sweeps and raids while Mala argues that they weren’t doing sweeping, they just wanted to check on their Muslim brothers. 

Cahyo finally stops engaging with Mala, ignoring his replies. Finally, the police officers are able to force the FPI members to leave the premises. 

We know that the police chief and his fellow officers were simply doing their duty in upholding the law. But it’s still good to see law enforcers standing up to extremists and even if they were just doing their jobs we can say that it was a job well done. 

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