Firebrand cleric Habib Bahar Smith reported to police for alleged sexist, transphobic remarks about Jokowi during sermon

Habib Bahar Smith. Photo: Instagram
Habib Bahar Smith. Photo: Instagram

Habib Bahar bin Ali bin Smith, popularly known as Habib Bahar Smith or Habib Bule, has been reported to the Jakarta Metro Police for defaming President Joko Widodo through some very troubling remarks the firebrand cleric made about the Indonesia’s leader in a sermon, videos of which went viral recently.

As reported by CNN Indonesia, a group of Jokowi supporters calling themselves Jokowi Mania lodged the official complaint against Habib Bahar Smith today over the latter’s sermon in which he said, in front of a congregation, that Jokowi was “banci” (a derogatory Indonesian term for transsexual) and that if his pants were pulled down one might see that he’s having a period.

“Essentially our reaction as citizens of Indonesia is that [the remarks] insult a state symbol,” Jokowi Mania leader Rahmat told reporters.

“In terms of evidence there are several videos, links on Youtube. There are several.”

The group believes that the sermon took place on Nov. 17 in Tangerang.

Habib Bahar Smith, 33, is the founder of hardline group the Prophet’s Defender Council. The group has been in the news numerous times over the years for conducting raids and forcing the closure of entertainment spots during Ramadan, as well as attacking minority religious groups.

In additional to potentially facing charges of violating Indonesia’s draconian Law on Electronic Transactions and Information (UU ITE) — specifically its prohibitions on online hate speech and defamation — Habib Bahar Smith could also face charges of insulting the president, which is a separate and serious criminal offense — early this year a teenager was sentenced to 18 months in prison for insulting President Jokowi on Facebook.

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