Prominent figure Wimar Witoelar closed his Twitter and Facebook accounts and apologized on Thursday for a posting he made that associated presidential hopeful Prabowo Subianto and Muhammadiyah, Indonesia’s second-largest Muslim organization, with Osama bin Laden and other notorious figures.
Wimar, former spokesman of former president Abdurrahman “Gus Dur” Wahid and a known supporter of Prabowo’s rival Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, posted on his Twitter account @wimar and Facebook on Thursday an edited picture of Prabowo with the group.
The picture, entitled Gallery of rouges: The awakening of bad guys, depicted Prabowo along with running mate Hatta Rajasa, Golkar Party chairman Aburizal Bakrie and United Development Party (PPP) chairman and graft suspect Suryadharma Ali, graft convict Luthfi Hasan Ishaaq of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), hard-liner Habib Rizieq of the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) and terrorism convict Abu Bakar Ba’asyir.
On the backdrop were former president Soeharto, the late international terrorist Bin Laden and executed perpetrators of the 2002 Bali bombing Imam Samudra, Amrozi and Mukhlas.
A Muhammadiyah emblem was also included in the picture.
Muhammadiyah said on its website muhammadiyah.or.id that Wimar should apologize publicly and demanded that he delete the picture.
“Wimar’s action, besides clearly hurting the community members [of Muhammadiyah], can only boomerang on the presidential and vice presidential candidates backed by Wimar,” Muhammadiyah representative Iwan Setiawan said on Thursday. “Because, individually, there are, of course, Muhammadiyah members who support those candidates.”
Iwan also urged Muhammadiyah members not to be provoked by the incident.
Prior to closing his Twitter account, Wimar apologized, saying that he had not intended to offend Muhammadiyah.
Prabowo’s campaign team said it would file a report with the Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) against Wimar for running a smear campaign.
In a separate event, Jokowi dismissed a rumor that he planned to eliminate the religion category on ID cards (KTPs) if elected.
He also denied reports that he had told Siti Musdah Mulia, a member of his campaign team, that he had approved the idea to eliminate the religion category.
Musdah said earlier that religious identity could trigger discrimination and lead to religious conflict and claimed that Jokowi had approved the idea.
Jokowi was on a six-day campaign tour of West and Central Java.
He toured the provinces by land in a convoy of about 10 cars, taking hours to travel between places that sometimes included small, rough and bumpy roads.
Jokowi will end his tour in Surakarta, Central Java, his hometown, on Friday.
Next week, he is set to tour other cities in West Java, the country’s most populous province.
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