As the leader of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), Habib Rizieq has been at the forefront of those trying to get Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama imprisoned for his alleged blasphemy against Islam. But since his anti-Ahok crusade has begun, Rizieq has faced numerous accusations of blasphemy and defamation himself. After being reported to the police for insulting the state ideology of Pancasila and committing blasphemy against Christianity, the latest formal accusation made against RIzieq is that he defamed a state symbol by claiming that the country’s currency contains secret communist symbols.
In this video footage of a sermon, released through “FPI TV”, Rizieq talks about how you can see hammer and sickle symbols on the newly released rupiah banknotes.
Such accusations, often used to support conspiracy theories that the government is secretly controlled by communists, were also leveled at the old rupiah notes. But all of those claims have been thoroughly debunked.
Bank Indonesia has clarified numerous times that the symbols that Rizieq was referring are in fact a security feature meant to prevent forgery – they are all fragments of the Bank Indonesia logo.
For criticizing our currency, Rizieq was reported to the police on Tuesday by a group called Solidarity Merah Putih (Solmet). A Solmet representative, Firmansyah, said that as a citizen he was offended and could not accept Rizieq’s statements, which also included suggestions that President Joko Widodo might be a member of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) since he ignored the inclusion of the hammer and sickle on the nation’s currency.
“It is slander against the Indonesian government,” Firmansyah said at Jakarta Police Headquarters yesterday as quoted by Tempo. He brought with him video footage of Rizieq’s sermon and a transcript as evidence and reported the FPI leader for violating the Law on Electronic Transactions (UU ITE) for spreading misinformation leading to public unrest.
Solmet was not the first to report Rizieq over the rupiah sickle slander. On Sunday, the Anti-Slander Young Intellectual Network (Jimaf) also filed a report with the police over the same issue.
Activists have urged the police to act decisively and fairly in handling the accusations against Rizieq to prove that the law applies equally to all in Indonesia. Many questioned why the police failed to report any progress on a report, filed by Sukmawati Soekarnoputri in November, claiming Rizieq had insulted Pancasila. But police recently announced they would be questioning 10 witnesses in the case, and that they would force Rizieq to come in for questioning if he did not heed a police summons tomorrow.
Subscribe to Indonesia Intelligencer for a weekly round-up of the most essential political, business, and cultural news from Indonesia. Get a 60 day free trial with our Ramadan 2020 Special Offer.