Adam Prireza, Jakarta – The number of people signing an online petition titled "Revoke Rizieq Shihab's Indonesian citizenship" (Cabut Status WNI Rizieq Shihab) continues to grow. As of Saturday morning, June 8, the petition launched on May 17 has already been signed by 70,800 netizens out of a target of 75,000. The number of signatories has grown by around one thousand since the previous day.
Responding to the petition, a senior member of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) Central Leadership Board, Novel Bamukmin, stated that that they are not concerned. He asserted that the FPI's leader, Shihab, is an Indonesian citizen (WNI) and the son of national independence fighter Hussein Shihab.
Bamukmin hit back by accusing the initiator of the petition of being a communist. "The 75 thousand petition (target) is very small and will be used by religious traitors and the state to legitimise their interests", he said in an SMS message on Friday June 7.
The petition demanding that the administration of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo revoke Shihab's citizenship emerged following a debate over the extension of the FPI's registration as a mass organisation (ormas). An earlier petition on the website change.org calling for the FPI's registration not to be extended had already attracted hundreds of thousands of signatures.
Fugitive FPI leader Rizieq Shihab is still in Saudi Arabia having fled Indonesia after being named a suspect in a pornography case in 2017 – although the police have since terminated the investigation.
The petition is addressed to Widodo and three of his ministers, namely Home Affairs Minister Tjahjo Kumolo, Justice and Human Rights Minister Yasona Laoly and Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs Wiranto.
The petition asserts that Shihab is the person most responsible or the mastermind behind the post-election riots in Jakarta in late May.
"So if we only shout for the FPI to be disbanded, I thing that's not enough, because Rizieq Shihab will most certainly form another ormas with a different name, but which acts the same", read part of the petition initiated by the account 7inta Putih.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Kata FPI Soal Petisi Cabut Status WNI Rizieq Shihab".]