FPI leader calls for withdrawal of banknotes with ‘communist symbol’
Safrin La Batu
The Jakarta Post
Islam Defenders Front (FPI) leader Rizieq Shihab has called on the government to pull from circulation the newly-issued Indonesian rupiah banknotes, which he claims have an image that resembles the now-defunct Indonesian Communist Party’s (PKI) hammer and sickle logo.
Rizieq attended on Monday the Jakarta Police’s summons for questioning on his statement, during which he brought several new rupiah banknotes, from Rp 1,000 to Rp 100,000 bills, and showed them to investigators to prove his claims.
Rizieq said the banknotes’ rectoverso image, which according to Bank Indonesia (BI) functions as an anti-counterfeit feature, resembled the PKI logo.
“We ask the government to explain to us why, from thousands of rectoverso images they could have used, they chose the one that looks like a hammer and sickle logo. This is dangerous,” Rizieq told reporters after the questioning.
“We ask the government to retract all new banknotes, from the Rp 1,000 to Rp 100,000 bills, because they can all give the perception that there is a hammer and sickle logo on our banknotes,” said the firebrand preacher, who had to answer 23 questions from the police regarding his statement.
In an earlier statement, BI brushed off Rizieq’s claim, saying that the rectoverso image on the bills was actually the central bank’s logo printed in such a way to protect the money from counterfeiting.
Mass organization Jaringan Intelektual Muda Anti-Fitnah (Young Intellectuals Anti-Slander Network, or Jimaf) reported Rizieq to the police, in which they said the FPI leader’s statement constituted hate speech because his claim was baseless and could provoke public unrest.
Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Raden Prabowo Argo Yuwono said Rizieq’s status was still that of a witness. (ebf)
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