Is Indonesia ready to experience the world of Game of Thrones with the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) playing the radical role of the High Sparrow?
Popular HBO series Game of Thrones garnered 25.1 million views on average by the end of season six earlier this summer. While this proves how much the world loves the show, no one’s exactly sure if Indonesia will be ready to have this fantasy turned into reality in the streets.
Like GoT’s High Sparrow and his Faith Militant, FPI is known for its radical ideologies of hate crimes and violence in the name of Islam, most of which are not favoured by the Indonesian public. The FPI has gotten bad press for their destructive behaviour in different cases across the country, as reported by the police. That said, Friday’s imminent demonstration (which is rumoured to be huge), is really nothing new for Jakartans.
Just recently, the radical group made it known that they weren’t happy with Jakarta’s Governor Basuki “Ahok” Purnama’s speech, in which he quoted a verse from the Quran in an event he attended in Kepulauan Seribu. A video of the speech (in which the governor mentioned his opinion regarding the misuse of verses from the Quran for political gains) went viral and angered the FPI.
Although Ahok apologized to the Muslims on this matter, adding that he did not intend to insult Islam with the quotation, the radical group did not take it well. They organized a rally where more than 5,000 people came to protest about the governor’s comment, demanding his arrest for allegedly insulting their religion. And as with other FPI protests, the rally turned out a citywide disruption, causing traffic jams and damage to public parks.
Not being satisfied with how that turned out still, the extremist group organized yet another rally with various Muslim organizations that will be held this Friday, November 4. Jakarta Police Deputy Chief Brig. Gen Suntana is ready to send 7,000 police force members to the protest to ensure the safety and security of the occasion.
President Joko Widodo advised organizers that they have the democratic right to protest but they need to ensure they “do no damage and not create havoc.”
In the fantasy world of Westeros, the High Sparrow made his secret inquests on Loras Tyrell, Margaery and Olyvar. These interrogations ultimately forced Cersei Lannister to confess and do the walk of atonement, naked and taunted by the entire kingdom she helped shape.
While the FPI may not yet have done similar damage to Governor Ahok, surely they have drawn more negative attention to the political leader than he needs on the eve of a re-election campaign.
Considering the organization’s record of 29 cases of violent activities that normally threaten the security and well-being of their targets, such as getting Lady Gaga’s concert cancelled in 2012, the governor should not turn a deaf ear on the group’s cause, lest they get him to do the walk of shame . . . shame . . . shame . . .