FPI’s Habib Novel reports Ahok to the police for defamation for instigating Fitsa Hats meme bullying

Habib Novel Bamukmin, the secretary general for the Jakarta chapter of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), seems to love nothing than filing legal reports against Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama for hilariously ridiculous reasons (such as his Rp 204 million civil suit against Ahok to cover the costs of his own private investigation into the governor’s alleged blasphemy). Given their history, a formal police report by Habib Novel against Ahok for the Fitsa Hats meme was all but inevitable.

The meme was born on Tuesday when, while speaking to reporters after the latest session in his ongoing blasphemy trial, Ahok singled out an odd discrepancy in Habib Novel’s personal details listed in the official court documents, which stated that the FPI leader was once employed at “Fitsa Hats” in the mid 1990s.

Ahok jokingly suggested that Habib Novel deliberately changed the name Pizza Hut to Fitsa Hats because he was embarrassed to acknowledge that he worked for the American pizza powerhouse, given how often he had said that Muslims should not be led by non-Muslims. This led to a flurry of Fitsa Hats memes being posted by Indonesian netizens poking fun at the FPI boss.

Yesterday, Habib Novel went in person to Jakarta Metro Police Headquarters to file a report against Ahok accusing him of defamation for instigating the Fitsa Hats memes.

“What reason does Ahok have [for humiliating Habib Novel]? From this emerged an extraordinary hatred based on no data, it’s not his (Ahok’s right) to comment about anyway, and now he’s paying the price,” Habib Novel told reporters as quoted by Kompas yesterday.

“I’m now getting bullied in various ways, including with these memes. This is an insult to ulemas (Islamic clerics).”

Habib Novel then reiterated his defense that he did not personally write his personal profile for the court’s documentation, and that a police officer did. He said it was late at night when he signed off on the document, which is why he missed what he said was a typo.

Police deny that the misspelling could be attributed to their officers and say the responsibility for Fitsa Hats rests with Novel.

Meanwhile, Ahok didn’t seem to be able to take Habib Novel’s police report seriously.

“If he wants to file a report then it’s expected. At least we now have a new idea to start a business called Fitsa Italia, starting in Indonesia and maybe we can develop it into a global brand,” Ahok said with a laugh, as quoted by Kompas.

Ahok also poked further fun at Habib Novel for saying that Pizza Hut is an Italian company instead of American (in an attempt to refute Ahok’s claim that he was embarrassed to acknowledge that he worked for a kafir American company (even though Italians are generally kafirs too)).

“That’s why, if you say you’re smart, you should Google it. Everybody knows that Pizza Hut was established in 1958 by two American brothers,” he said.

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