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Jakarta Post

Does firebrand cleric have a place in RI politics?

  • A'an Suryana

    Jakarta

Jakarta   /   Wed, September 2 2020   /  01:00 am

Billboards depicting the self-exiled leader of the Islam Defender Front (FPI), Rizieq Shihab, have been dotting the streets of Jakarta. They were erected by his supporters in response to a rally in July in the capital city, in which people burned an image of him. To some extent, the billboards are sending a message that the firebrand preacher’s clout remains intact, especially among hardline Muslims and adversaries of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo. Among the resolute and bold statements written on the billboards are “Supporters are ready to fight in defense of religion [Islam], religious preachers and the state” and “One poster is burned down, thousands more will emerge.” The endeavor by Rizieq’s supporters also aimed to shore up his popularity among Islamists as they search for a viable candidate to represent them in the 2024 presid...