11/11/2020 Indonesia (International Christian Concern) – On November 10, the leader of a notorious Indonesian radical Islamic group who fled the country in 2017 to avoid a pornography charge, has returned home from his self-imposed exile.
Rizieq Shihab, who is the chief of Islamic Defender Front (FPI), was welcomed by thousands of loyalists and supporters at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. The mass prevented other passengers from reaching the airport to board their flights abroad, while other overzealous supporters caused damage to airport facilities in the process.
According to Asia News, the charismatic leader briefly spoke to the crowd announcing his intention to promote a so-called moral revolution, though he did not elaborate on the context, noting that he would speak when he finished his quarantine. FPI is known for its religious intolerance against other faiths and staging protests against Christians and churches across the nation.
Rizieq fled Indonesia as a fugitive in April 2017 to Saudi Arabia when he was named a suspect by the Jakarta Police in a pornography case, in which he was accused of exchanging sexually explicit with a woman outside of marriage. Police eventually dropped his case, but he still has other pending cases such as charges of blasphemy against Christianity and state symbols, which might come back to haunt him.
UCA News reports that Rizieq still has cases to answer after having been accused by the Catholic Student Association of ridiculing the birth of Jesus in a speech that was widely circulated on the internet shortly before he fled.
Petrus Selestinus, a Catholic lawyer who reported Shihab to the police, told UCA News that this case must be followed up by law enforcement. The authorities need to reopen his case to show that the law is not blunt against people who have mass support.
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