The Jakarta Post
Islam Defenders Front (FPI) spokesperson Slamet Maarif has said offering apologies is not enough for people who have insulted the group’s leader, Rizieq Shihab.
Recently, a 15-year-old male teenager of Chinese descent was reportedly forced by FPI members to sign an apology letter for having allegedly insulted Rizieq on his Facebook account.
“[...] We will still report him to law enforcement authorities so that there will be a deterrent effect on those [wanting to] insult Islam and clerics,” Slamet told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.
According to reports, a group of FPI members and local residents mobbed and intimidated the 15-year-old boy after he insulted Rizieq Shihab on Facebook.
Video footage that went viral on social media indicate that the boy was forced to sign a stamped statement of apology. In the video, the boy also appears to be repeatedly hit by a man.
“You’d better tell your friends of your [Chinese] ethnicity not to do it anymore, so this will not happen again,” said one FPI member.
“You have to know that Habib Rizieq belongs not only to the FPI but also to all Muslims. The FPI is just an organization but he [Rizieq] is loved by millions of people in Indonesia.”
Slamet said the FPI would not allow Islam and clerics to be insulted by anyone and rejected the notion that the boy's online post was in line with freedom of expression.
Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network regional coordinator Damar Juniarto said the incident was clearly part of a growing trend of persecution in Indonesia. (dis/ebf)