Jakarta – Islamic preacher Jafar Shodik has been named a suspect of defamation by the police after a video showing him insulting Vice President Ma'ruf Amin by calling the latter a "pig" during a sermon went viral on social media.
National Police deputy chief detective Insp. Gen. Antam Novambar accused Jafar of violating articles on hate speech and defamation in the 2008 Electronic Information and Transactions Law as well as the Criminal Code.
"Yes, we have named him a suspect in the case," Antam said on Thursday as quoted by kompas.com.
Earlier on Thursday, a group of people calling themselves the Rabithah Babad of the Banten Sultanate reported Shodik for alleged defamation against the government and treason for making the statement shown in the viral video.
The group's lawyer, Agus Setiawan, said the preacher had "heavily insulted" Ma'ruf in the video. "We coordinated and decided to file a report to the police because we think the [statement] crossed the line," Agus said.
The video, which shows Jafar delivering a sermon, was first uploaded on Jafar Shodiq's YouTube channel on Nov. 30 before it made the rounds on social media.
Jafar is seen telling a story about Moses in which he says that Moses had two students who God turned into pigs because they used the religious teachings they had learned to pursue worldly things. He then gives examples of contemporary figures he described as "money-hungry preachers".
"So, what do we call money-hungry preachers?" Jafar asked, to which the congregation replied, "pigs!"
Jafar continued, "I ask you, is Ma'ruf Amin a pig or not?" to which the congregants replied in the affirmative. He added, "So, is he a pig or not? [...] of course [he is] a pig."
The National Police's spokesman Brig. Gen. Argo Yuwono said the police had already made a move to investigate the case before the report was even filed. On Wednesday, the police's cyber unit arrested Jafar at his residence at Depok, West Java.
Responding to the video, Ma'ruf said he did not hold a grudge against Shodik, even saying that he had already forgiven him.
"Personally, I feel like we have to forgive those who are under pressure. I have to admit that he [Shodik] crossed the line," Ma'ruf said on Wednesday.
He also suspected that the video was recorded during the 2019 election campaign period, when hate speech was rampant on social media. Hence, Ma'ruf said he had no intention to report Shodik to the police.
"I hope he has realized his mistake and will change the way he delivers his speeches," he said. (dpk)