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Baswedan 'still respects Rizieq' despite claims FPI leader was used to win election

Tempo - February 23, 2018

Muhammad Hendartyo, Jakarta – Mardani Ali Sera has clarified a statement by sacked Alumni Presidium 212 founder Faizal Assegaf who said that Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan used Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) leader Habib Rizieq Shihab to win the Jakarta election.

"Perhaps the intention of Faizal's statement was to remind us all to always take care of each other and not forget each other's [contributions]. This is good for us all", said Mardani when contacted by Tempo on Friday February 23.

Mardani, who is also the deputy secretary general of the Islamic based Justice and Prosperity Party (PKS), was formally the head of the Governor Anies Baswedan and Deputy Governor Sandiaga Uno election campaign team in the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial election.

Assegaf was dismissed from the Presidium Alumni 212 after he made a statement on February 17 calling on Rizieq Shihab to return home to Indonesia to face justice like the "noble" former Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama.

Assegaf accused Baswedan to using Rizieq Shihab purely in the interests of winning the Jakarta election.

"It is becoming increasingly clear that Anies used Rizieq Shihab and the Islamic community for the interests of the Jakarta gubernatorial election, and this suspicion has long been highlighted internally within the Presidium 212", said Assegaf in a written message on Thursday February 22.

Mardani said that Baswedan respects Rizieq Shihab and always maintains friendly relations with him. "Including maintain a good and productive relationship with [our] FPI friends", said Mardani in explaining Assegaf's criticisms of Baswedan.

Notes

1. Fugitive Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) leader Rizieq Shihab is currently hiding in Saudi Arabia having fled Indonesia after being charged under the anti-pornography law last year over alleged steamy WhatsApp chats with a woman named Firza Husein which went viral on social media.

2. The Presidium 212 were the organisers of the so-call Defend Islam actions which succeeded in mobilising massive protests against former Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama in November and December last year which eventually led to him being jailed on trumped up blasphemy charges and loosing the election to the Prabowo Subianto backed Anies Baswedan-Sandiaga Uno ticket.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "Anies Baswedan Dikritik, Mardani: Dia Menghormati Rizieq Shihab".]

Source: https://metro.tempo.co/read/1063604/anies-baswedan-dikritik-mardani-dia-menghormati-rizieq-shihab.

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