Islamic group apologizes after Rizieq Shihab’s homecoming crowd damaged airport property

Supporters of FPI leader Rizieq Shihab crowding Soekarno-Hatta Airport on the morning of his return on Nov. 10, 2020. Photo: Istimewa
Supporters of FPI leader Rizieq Shihab crowding Soekarno-Hatta Airport on the morning of his return on Nov. 10, 2020. Photo: Istimewa

Persaudaraan Alumni 212 (PA 212), an umbrella organization consisting of some of the largest conservative Islamic organizations, has apologized for property damage at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, which were left behind by thousands who welcomed Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) leader Rizieq Shihab home yesterday.

Rizieq touched down at Soekarno-Hatta yesterday morning, greeted by thousands of his followers. Aside from inadvertently blocking road access to the airport and thus causing flight delays, images of damage to public seating, a SIM card booth, and decorative plants also circulated widely yesterday after Rizieq’s supporters left the airport along with the firebrand cleric.

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PA 212, which is spearheaded by FPI leaders including Rizieq, has apologized for the property damage but insisted that it was unavoidable considering the unexpected huge turnout for Rizieq’s homecoming.

“The crowd was not contained, and it became a sea of people. We did not invite so many people and we did not have an organizing committee, so it was all spontaneous and out of our control,” PA 212 Deputy Secretary General Novel Bamukmin said.

“I myself did not monitor [the situation], and that is part of our shortcoming. We apologize for all our shortcomings.”

Airport management firm Angkasa Pura II said it believes there was no deliberate intent to damage airport property.

“These were not acts of anarchy. It was because [the airport] was dense with people. There were so many people and they stood on the benches so of course they broke,” Angkasa Pura II VP of Corporate Communications Yado Yarismano said.

PA 212 says it has met with Angkasa Pura II to offer to pay for the damages.

“We wanted to cover the damages, but airport management said we didn’t need to because the cost was not a lot,” PA 212 Chairman Slamet Maarif told reporters today.

“They were just minor damages on objects that are susceptible to damage.”

Angkasa Pura II has not corroborated Slamet’s statement nor has it publicly announced the amount of material damage caused by Rizieq’s homecoming crowd yesterday.

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Elderly man among Rizieq Shihab’s homecoming crowd dies from suspected suffocation

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