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Jakarta Post

FPI leader denies allegations of provoking public unrest with communism symbol claim

  • Safrin La Batu

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, January 23, 2017   /  08:08 pm
FPI leader denies allegations of provoking public unrest with communism symbol claim Showing support -- Hundreds of Islam Defenders Front (FPI) members stage a rally to show their support for their leader, Rizieq Shihab, in Jakarta on Jan.23. (JP/Safrin La Batu)

Islam Defenders Front (FPI) leader Rizieq Shihab has maintained his innocence over allegations that he had attempted to trigger public unrest with his claim that the new Indonesian rupiah banknotes were emblazoned with communist symbols.

Rizieq fulfilled the Jakarta Police’s summons on Monday for questioning regarding his recent statement that the newly released banknotes featured a “hammer and sickle”, the logo of the now-defunct Indonesian Communist Party (PKI), an ideology banned in the Muslim-majority country.

Speaking to journalists after the questioning, the firebrand Islamic teacher said he had brought several new rupiah banknotes, ranging from Rp 1,000 to Rp 100,000 bills, and showed investigators that all of the bills contained a hammer and sickle logo.

 “I was summoned for questioning on that matter. I told investigators that I did not accuse [the new rupiah banknotes of containing a hammer and sickle logo]. I proved it, giving them all the bills so they could see it for themselves.

Mass organization Jaringan Intelektual Muda Anti-Fitnah (Young Intellectuals Anti-Slander Network, or Jimaf) reported Rizieq to the police, saying that the FPI leader’s claim constituted hate speech as it was baseless and could provoke public unrest.

Bank Indonesia Governor Agus Martowardojo earlier rebuffed Rizieq’s claim, saying that the logo in question was actually the central bank’s logo, which was printed in such a way as an anti-counterfeit strategy.

Monday’s questioning was overshadowed by a rally from FPI members and sympathizers in front of the police headquarters to protest Rizieq’s questioning, which they claim is an attempt to “criminalize” ulema (Islamic scholars). (ebf)


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