Rizieq Shihab, the leader of the hardline Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and an instrumental figure in getting former Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama arrested and jailed for blasphemy, is currently hiding in Saudi Arabia to avoid forceful detainment from the Indonesian police, who have summoned him for questioning in relation to a pornography case stemming from leaked information detailing an alleged adulterous affair between Rizieq and a married woman (whom the police officially named a suspect in the case last week).
Previously, Rizieq had claimed that the pornography case (as well as numerous other criminal reports filed against him) were ‘engineered’ by President Joko Widodo and his supporters in revenge for Rizieq’s actions against Ahok. Through his lawyer, Rizieq stated he might not return to Indonesia while Jokowi remains president and that he would seek help from Indonesia’s Human Rights Council (Komnas HAM) and protection from the United Nations Human Rights Council (OHCHR).
The latest controversial statement relayed through one of his cronies is that the FPI leader has warned of a “white revolution” if Jokowi’s government continues to “criminalize the ulamas”.
“If the regime continues to suppress the ulamas and defend the religious blasphemer, it is possible that Rizieq Shihab will announce a ‘white revolution’ for Indonesia from the Holy Land,” said FPI chairperson Sobri Lubis through a written statement received by CNN Indonesia on Sunday.
Sobri did not elaborate what Rizieq meant exactly by a “white revolution” but it is likely he was referring to the white robes worn by many devout Muslims.
The threat of revolution is bold coming from Rizieq, considering he is hiding in Saudi Arabia and President Jokowi recently said that he would “clobber” any anti-Pancasila groups attempting to overthrow his government. (Firza Husein, the woman allegedly involved in the sex scandal with Rizieq, was arrested for her alleged involvement in a treason plot late last year).
Sobri said Rizieq has asked his team of lawyers to go to the parliament, Komnas HAM and the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) to demand the government end the criminalization to the ulamas.
“We ask Habib Rizieq and his family to remain in the holy land until they are able to safely return home from the raids by the panicked rulers who lost in the elections and the courts,” Sobri said.
One of Rizieq’s lawyers, Sugito Atmo Prawiro, suggested that the FPI leader might come back to Indonesia before the start of Ramadan later this week, but also continued to deny that Rizieq was avoiding the police and that he was simply coming up with a strategy to deal with the all of the ‘engineered’ criminal charges he is facing.