TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Mahfud MD rebuffed the accusations voiced by Rizieq Shihab, the leader of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI).
“I have reached the embassy, and there is no report [from Rizieq]. He never came,” said Mahfud at his office on Jalan Medan Merdeka Barat, Central Jakarta, Monday, December 2.
In a recorded footage played before the crowd during the 212 reunion event at the National Monument (Monas) area today, Rizieq accused Mahfud and the Indonesian government of deceit. He claimed to have communicated with the Indonesian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and even accused the government of deliberately having him exiled.
However, Mahfud admitted there were representatives from the embassy who came to the preacher. This confirmed Rizieq’s statement that the embassy’s state intelligence chief visited him in Mecca after he talked with the embassy.
“It is true that someone visited him. But he never made a report,” Mahfud said.
To date, both the government and Rizieq have continuously accused each other regarding the cause of Rizieq's inability to return home. Both parties told narratives that contradicted each other.
Rizieq Shihab emphasized that he was unable to return home due to a travel ban from the Saudi Arabian government at the request of the Indonesian government.
On the contrary, the government through Mahfud MD stated there was never any attempt to repatriate Rizieq Shihab. Instead, they encouraged Rizieq to report to the embassy if he encountered problems and needed help for his return.