Indonesian cleric reported to police for telling story about meeting Prophet Muhammad in a dream

Haikal Hassan. Photo: Twitter/@haikalhassan
Haikal Hassan. Photo: Twitter/@haikalhassan

It truly speaks of the ambiguous nature of Indonesia’s controversial Information and Electronic Transactions Act (UU ITE) that a cleric was reported to the police for alleged violation of the law after he told a story in public that he met with Prophet Muhammad in a dream.

Haikal Hassan, a spokesman for the 212 Alumni Brotherhood (PA 212), an umbrella group comprising the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and other hardline Islamic organizations, was accused of blasphemy for telling his story during the funeral of five of the six FPI members who were killed during a shootout with the police. A video of Haikal’s speech was uploaded to FPI’s YouTube account, thus potentially fulfilling the UU ITE violation aspect of the complaint.

In the video, Haikal delivered a speech in which he said he found solace in religion after the deaths of his two children. He said he recently had a dream in which Prophet Muhammad came to him assuring that his children are with him.

“The prophet said to me directly in my dream that I should not be scared,” Haikal said.

The Islamic Defenders Forum (not to be confused with FPI) took issue with Haikal’s claim and reported him to the Jakarta Metro Police for spreading a hoax and committing blasphemy under UU ITE and the Criminal Code (KUHP). He may face up to six years in prison if convicted under those charges.

“The dream was politicized for his and his group’s own gain, by using the prophet’s name. Whereas we don’t actually know what the prophet’s face looks like. Did the prophet go to him and say, ‘Hey Haikal, it’s me, the prophet.’ Please, this kind of thing does not make sense,” Islamic Defenders Forum Chairman Guz Rofi’i said yesterday.

Haikal has not issued any statement regarding the complaint against him.

The complaint against Haikal comes after the recent battering of FPI and allied groups in the hands of law enforcement. On Dec. 7, six FPI members were killed in a violent shootout with the police. Authorities said the shootout was instigated by the FPI members but have so far failed to provide irrefutable evidence to back their claim. 

FPI leader Rizieq Shihab was also arrested on Saturday for incitement to commit crime after he allegedly allowed mass gatherings to be held in his honor amid the pandemic following his return from exile in Saudi Arabia. Rizieq may face up to six years in prison.

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