TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Reports said that Rizieq Syihab and family are still living in Saudi Arabia until today. The Islamic Defender Front (FPI) leader fled to Saudi Arabia a month before he was named as a suspect for his implication in a pornography case.
On April 26, Rizieq decided to travel there to conduct Umrah as his personal promise to God following the loss of Basuki Tjahaja Purnama or Ahok in the 2017 Jakarta Gubernatorial Election. Rizieq has yet to return to Indonesia since then.
On May 5, Rizieq and family traveled to Kuala Lumpur to complete his dissertation at the Universitas Sains Islam Malaysia. He went back to Saudi Arabia after spending ten days in Malaysia.
According to FPI spokesman, Slamet Maarif, Rizieq Syihab canceled his plan to return home. “He returned back to Saudi Arabia because the situation in Indonesia was not conducive, and that he would be arrested,” said Slamet as quoted in Tempo Magazine, July 3-9 edition.
During his trip to Malaysia-Jeddah-Mecca-Medina, Rizieq stayed in high tariff five-star hotels and met with several public figures.
In a picture posted on June 12, Rizieq could be seen having dinner in Jeddah with a Yemeni Muslim scholar, Abu Bakar Mansyur. Not less than one day, he met with Indian speaker, Zakir Naik.
“Rizieq Syihab is considered to be performing Hijrah,” said Sugito Atmo Prawiro, one of Rizieq’s lawyers.
Indonesian political figures have also paid visits to the FPI leader, such as former People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR), Amien Rais. Several high officials from the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) - the political party that endorsed Ahok’s rival candidate during the Gubernatorial Election- also met with Rizieq in Saudi Arabia.
The cost needed to accommodate Rizieq is definitely not cheap.
Sugito said that his client received financial supports from Rizieq's friends. Fellows King Saud University alumni have helped pay for Rizeiq Syihab’s travel expenses including hotel charges.