Islamic hardliners plan to occupy Tempo magazine office over cartoon allegedly insulting FPI leader Rizieq Shihab

Members of the hardline group Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), which advocates for the implementation of sharia law throughout Indonesia, during a march in January 2017. Photo: REUTERS/Darren Whiteside

A mass of Islamic hardliners, comprised of groups such as the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and its paramilitary wing the Islamic Defenders Army (LPI), are staging a protest at national publication Tempo’s office in Jakarta this afternoon over a political cartoon they say insulted the honor of FPI leader, self-appointed “Grand Imam of Indonesia” and pornography case fugitive Rizieq Shihab.

LPI Commander Maman Suryadi said they are going to demand a written apology from Tempo during the protest today and warned that their failure to comply would result in more drastic measures against the magazine.

“We will occupy [their office],” Maman said, as quoted by CNN Indonesia yesterday.

Maman said that there will be approximately 500-1,000 protesters in attendance and that the Jakarta Metro Police has been notified.

What cartoon could have possibly upset FPI, LPI and their pals that much? Check it out for yourself:

If you don’t get the reference, the cartoon is a parody riffing on an oft-quoted scene from 2016’s mega box office hit ‘Ada Apa Dengan Cinta? 2’. In the scene, main character Cinta tells Rangga, “What you did to me was cruel” after he didn’t call her or something following the romantic climax of the prequel (we don’t really know, we’re one of the few people who didn’t watch the movie).

In Tempo’s cartoon, Rangga was replaced with a man in Islamic clothing. Though we only see his back, it’s clear the artist heavily implied that he’s Rizieq Shihab as he says, “I’m sorry I didn’t end up coming home”, which refers to the firebrand cleric repeatedly canceling his plans to return from Saudi Arabia, disappointing his many followers each time.

“What is the meaning [of the cartoon], with words like that and placing [Rizieq Shihab] with a woman like that? They must take responsibility and explain [the cartoon],” FPI Jakarta head Muhsin Alatas told CNN Indonesia.

The Jakarta Metro Police is deploying personnel from Palmerah, where Tempo’s office is situated, to Kebayoran Lama to keep the protest peaceful.

Rizieq has been hiding in Saudi Arabia since he was named a pornography suspect in the infamous “baladacintarizieq” pornography case in May 2017. Explaining his long refusal to return to Indonesia, one of the firebrand cleric’s lawyer’s once said Rizieq would rather stay in Saudi and be called a coward than return to Indonesia and get arrested.

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