Indonesia’s police deny they are afraid to tackle hardline Islamic leader

Jakarta: About 5000 members of the Islam Defenders’ Front (FPI) turned up outside Indonesian police headquarters on Monday morning, to demand the removal of West Java’s police chief.

But if the group, once considered fringe radicals, have become increasingly vocal, it is their leader, firebrand cleric Muhammad Rizieq Shihab, who some fear may have become too powerful for the police to touch.

Widely known as Habib Rizieq, he is being investigated over multiple reports of alleged blasphemy and slander, including his outlandish claim that the 100,000 rupiah note contains an image of the hammer and sickle, which is illegal in Indonesia.

A daughter of Indonesia’s first president Sukarno has also reported him for allegedly insulting the state ideology, Pancasila, which carries a maximum sentence of five years’ jail.



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