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Widodo's ruling party seeking support from hardline FPI leader Rizieq Shihab
CNN Indonesia - August 21, 2018
Ma'ruf is considered to be able build a bridge between those camps which have, up until now, opposed the administration of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo. Earlier, Ma'ruf conceded that he was open to the possibility of meeting with Shihab in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, during his Haj pilgrimage.
"Ma'ruf can bridge the gap between groups which up until now have been closed to Pak [Mr] Jokowi. This is the mediation and diplomacy that Ma'ruf is doing", said Pereira at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) offices in Jakarta on Monday August 20.
According to Pereira, in politics any and all support can be accommodated if it does indeed exist. When again pushed on whether or not Widodo and Ma'ruf are hoping for support from Shihab, Pereira did not deny this. "Yes, if possible why not", he said.
Earlier Ma'ruf did not rule out the possibility of meeting with Shihab while he is in Mecca, although he did not deny nor confirm this.
"We'll see later", he said laughingly as quoted by the Antara news agency following the 17th International Nahdlatul Ulama Goodwill Meeting in Jarwal, Mecca, on Saturday August 18.
Ma'ruf's arrival in the Holy Land was to fulfill and invitation from one of the Special Haj Pilgrimage Providers (PIHK) to give a sermon to Haj pilgrims gathering for wukuf or the Day of Arafah and the 17th International Nahdlatul Ulama Goodwill Meeting.
Shihab himself is still in Saudi Arabia and is yet to return to Indonesia despite police having dropped the pornography case against him and Firza Husein.
Ma'ruf and Shihab are known to have been of one voice in demanding that former Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama be charged and jailed for blasphemy in protests last year driven by the 212 Alumni movement (pmg)
[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was PDIP Akui Cari Dukungan Rizieq Shihab Lewat Ma'ruf Amin.]
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