Through his lawyers’ hints, many expected that the leader of the hardline Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), Rizieq Shihab, would return to Indonesia from Saudi Arabia following the Eid al-Adha holiday earlier this month. Obviously, that hasn’t happen.
Yesterday, Rizieq wrote a note, read to the media by his lawyer Eggi Sudjana, explaining why he has chosen to remain in Saudi instead of coming home to face police questioning over his infamous pornography case.
“It’s better that I be insulted like this, it’s better than I’m called a coward who’s running away, instead of gallantly returning to Indonesia and then being arrested, which would lead to unrest and therefore killing. Then this nation would be torn apart again,” Eggi said while reading Rizieq’s note, as quoted by BeritaSatu yesterday.
Eggi also said that there would be grave economic repercussions if Rizieq were to return while he’s a criminal suspect.
“The airport would be shut because millions would welcome him home. According to economic calculations, if the airport is shut we stand to lose IDR9 trillion (US$680 million). Do we really want that?” Eggi said.
Eggi stressed that Rizieq would return if the police dropped the pornography charges against him and received President Joko Widodo’s guarantee that he would not be arrested upon his return.
In addition to pornography charges, Rizieq is also facing a couple other criminal charges, specifically involving religious blasphemy and defamation of the state, but his pornography case is arguably the most controversial and the most deliciously ironic considering his previous ultra-conservative stance on pornography.
Also Read: ‘The Porno Passion of Rizieq: The Islamic Defenders Front, Playboy and Poetic Justice’