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Cablegate: Radical Groups Hold Large, Peaceful Protest

VZCZCXRO3066
OO RUEHDT RUEHPB
DE RUEHJA #1857 3131023
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 091023Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3772
INFO RUCNARF/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHHMUNA/USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS JAKARTA 001857

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, EAP/MLS, EAP/RSP, DS/DSS, DS/CC,
DS/IP/EAP
NSC FOR D. WALTON

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KISL ASEC ID
SUBJECT: RADICAL GROUPS HOLD LARGE, PEACEFUL PROTEST
AGAINST ISRAEL OUTSIDE OF U.S. EMBASSY

REF: JAKARTA 875 AND PREVIOUS

1. (U) This message is Sensitive but Unclassified.

2. (SBU) SUMMARY: Members of several radical Muslim groups
held a peaceful rally in front of Mission on November 8 to
protest Israeli actions. Approximately 6,000 demonstrators
participated in the FUI-sponsored demonstration. The
FUI--which advocates for the implementation of Sharia law in
Indonesia--is made up of several radical Islamic groups,
including Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), the Islamic
Defender's Front (FPI), and the Indonesian Mujahedeen Council
(MMI). These radical groups represent a tiny sliver of
Indonesia's body politic. It was the first large
demonstration in front of the Mission in some time. END
SUMMARY.

ANTI-ISRAEL PROTEST

3. (U) On November 8, an estimated 6,000 demonstrators from
the radical umbrella group, Islamic Community Forum (FUI),
staged a protest in front of the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta.
The rally was peaceful with demonstrators chanting and
carrying anti-Israel posters which variously read "Destroy
Israel with Caliphate" and "Save al-Aqsa mosque and Palestine
from Israel and its allies." Police--including Mobile
Brigades (BRIMOB)--provided Mission protection throughout the
protest and the situation never grew unruly. It was the
first large demonstration in front of the Mission in over
eight months.

RADICAL GROUPS STAGE EVENT

4. (SBU) FUI is a hardline anti-Western umbrella
organization made up of approximately 50 Muslim
organizations. It includes radical elements such as HTI,
FPI, MMI, Persis and the "Voice of Palestine." Groups such
as FPI and MMI have been known to engage in low-level
violence in the past. FPI, primarily an Islamic thug group,
promotes the implementation of Sharia law in Indonesia. It
is most notorious for its attack on a peaceful pro-pluralism
rally in the capital in June 2008, and for organizing raids
on bars, massage parlors and night clubs during Ramadan in
years past. The group has been relatively quiet since the
conviction and subsequent jailing of its leader, Habib
Rizieq, last year for his role in the 2008 attack.

5. (SBU) The bulk of the November 8 protest was made up of
HTI supporters. HTI, which claims to be non-violent, is one
of the most active radical groups in Indonesia today. It is
a transnational movement which advocates the imposition of
Islamic law and the return of an Islamic "Caliphate." The
group promotes the implementation of Sharia law (Islamic
jurisprudence) through religious outreach and indoctrination.
It is growing in size in Indonesia, primarily among urban
middle-class intellectuals and university students, and is
estimated to have approximately 50,000 active members and
nearly 1.5 million sympathizers. (Note: HTI is a guarded
and highly secretive organization, and does not provide exact
membership numbers.)

A TINY SLIVER OF THE BODY POLITIC

6. (SBU) These radical groups represent a tiny sliver of
Indonesia's body politic. Political Islam in general is on
the decline with the Islamic-based parties suffering sharp
setbacks in the parliamentary elections earlier this year.
The rally was evidently staged in front of the U.S. Embassy
because Indonesia does not recognize Israel and there is no
Israeli Embassy. In addition, the U.S. is seen here as
Israel's major supporter.
HUME

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