Religious and ideological organizations have long played a significant role in shaping societies and politics globally. Their philosophies run the gamut from moderate to extreme.
The Islamic Defender’s Front, or Front Pembela Islam (FPI) in Indonesian, is a conservative Islamic group formed in 1998 in Indonesia. With the world’s largest Muslim population, Indonesia has seen multiple Islamic sociopolitical movements emerge.
The FPI aims to promote its interpretation of Islamic values and Sharia law in the country through various means. Its activities have included raiding establishments like bars and nightclubs deemed to be violating Islamic principles. The FPI has faced criticism for its vigilante actions and violent rhetoric. In 2020, the government officially banned the group over security concerns.
Founded in 1928 in Egypt by Hassan al-Banna, the Muslim Brotherhood is one of the oldest and most far-reaching Islamist organizations globally. The group advocates implementing Sharia law and views Islam as an all-encompassing system guiding society and governance.
The Muslim Brotherhood has a complex history spanning political participation, social services provision, and periodic conflicts with the state in Egypt and other countries where it maintains a presence. It continues to function as a major Islamist force in the political sphere in several nations today.
Hezbollah, meaning “Party of God,” is a Lebanese Shiite Islamist political party and armed paramilitary group formed in 1982. Backed by Iran, it was originally aimed at combatting Israeli occupation in southern Lebanon.
Hezbollah maintains a substantial military wing and has been involved in multiple conflicts including the Syrian Civil War. It is designated a terrorist organization by some countries but also participates politically in the Lebanese government.
Hizb ut-Tahrir is a pan-Islamist political organization founded in 1953 with the stated goal of uniting Muslim countries in a caliphate under Sharia rule. Headquartered in London, it has a presence across the Muslim world and Europe.
Unlike some other Islamist fronts, Hizb ut-Tahrir focuses on intellectual activism and education rather than militancy to disseminate its ideology. But it has still faced bans in various countries for its radical vision and alleged anti-Semitic, anti-Western rhetoric.
Emerging in the 2000s as a radical offshoot of the Islamic Courts Union militant group, Al-Shabaab seeks to impose its harsh version of Sharia on Somalia and establish a fundamentalist Islamic state.
Al-Shabaab has employed brutal terror tactics and been responsible for numerous deadly attacks in Somalia and surrounding countries. It remains a formidable security threat in East Africa.