JAKARTA - Supporters of Mr Habib Rizieq Shihab are calling for people to gather at the second-largest mosque in Jakarta on Monday (Jan 23) and march to the police station to show their support for the hardline Muslim cleric, who is being investigated for alleged blasphemy and insult of the state.
A leaflet that is circulated on social media appeals to Muslims to go to the Al-Azhar mosque at 7am on Monday and hold a mass prayer there before marching. "Say no to criminalisation against Ulema (the cleric)," the leaflet says.
The leaflet, which features a photo of Mr Rizieq surrounded by his supporters, also has a line in bolded letters saying: "Prepare for a revolt".
Responding to The Straits Times' query on Sunday, Jakarta police spokesman Colonel Argo Yuwono said in a mobile phone message that a crowd of about 2,000 Rizieq supporters will hold rallies in the capital on Monday.
Indonesian law requires any planned mass rally to be reported to police, and stipulates that the activity must end by 6pm.
FPI's spokesman Munarman (one-word name) is not immediately reachable for comment.
As chairman of the Islamic Defenders’ Front (FPI), Mr Rizieq led three street rallies between October and December last year to protest against Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, popularly known as Ahok, for allegedly insulting Islam.
The accusation against Mr Rizieq revolves around a two-minute long video that showed the 51-year-old telling an audience that Indonesia's founding President Sukarno had written an earlier version of Pancasila -- the national ideology which promotes diversity and democracy -- that did not prioritise belief in God.
The case is the first of at least five police reports lodged against Mr Rizieq. One of them was filed by a local Catholic group accusing the firebrand cleric of making blasphemous comments about Jesus Christ.
Last week, police interrogated Mr Rizieq for more than six hours for defaming Pancasila and Sukarno.
On Friday, the West Java prosecutor’s office announced that it will also question Mr Rizieq, fuelling speculation that he will be arrested and charged in court soon.
Many observers, however, have questioned why he was not hauled in earlier, adding that his actions in recent months, were sufficient grounds for the police to act.
Mr Rizieq had been jailed twice, first in 2003 for inciting his followers to violently harass nightspots in Jakarta, then in 2008 for attacking a minority group who was holding a vigil in the capital to rally against racial religious intolerance.