The Jakarta Post
Around 50 people calling themselves members of the Revolutionary Islamic Community Forum (FUIR) staged a rally on Monday, demanding Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan step down from his post for allegedly being indifferent on firebrand cleric Rizieq Shihab.
Rizieq, the leader of radical group Islam Defenders Front (FPI), was considered to have played a great role behind the election of Anies as governor against his Christian of Chinese descent contender Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama.
“Anies should resign from his post as governor because he only exploits the voice of ummah [the Muslim community] for his political gain,” said rally coordinator Dhany Lesy during the protest at the Jakarta Legislative Council (DPRD) in Central Jakarta.
Dhany specifically mentioned that Anies remained silent and did nothing to defend Rizieq, who fled to Saudi Arabia after being implicated in a pornography case.
“While Rizieq was in trouble, which forced him to go to Saudi Arabia, there was no single word or initiative coming from Anies to defend Rizieq,” he said.
Anies is widely seen to have ridden the Islamist wave to win last year's gubernatorial election while Ahok became the target of sectarian rhetoric in a series of rallies organized by Islamist groups in the months leading up to election day.
Rizieq was a key figure behind the rallies against Ahok.
During his campaign, Anies visited the FPI’s headquarters and met with Rizieq, sparking criticism among his detractors as well as his more progressive supporters. Anies, however, said he was only trying to give all elements of society the chance at a dialogue with their gubernatorial candidate.
Some of the protestors of Monday’s rally, which lasted for around an hour, were teenagers.
FPI spokesperson Slamet Maarif said the FUIR “was not among the groups involved in the 212 rally.” He was referring to the large Dec. 2, 2017, anti-Ahok rally. He stopped short of confirming whether the FPI endorsed the FUIR's rally. (fac)