TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - According to Tempo's records, Islamic preacher Muhammad Bahar bin Smith has a prior criminal record in 2012 when he was arrested for illegal possession of a bladed weapon. Bahar is presently implicated in a case of alleged defamation against President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.
Six years ago, the 33-year-old Bahar was arrested for leading a group of young men to vandalize a café located on Jl. Veteran Raya, Bintaro, South Jakarta. Bahar was one of the 23 people who were named as suspects by the police.
Bahar led a mass organization called Majelis Pembela Rasulullah (Rasulullah Defenders Assembly) on July 28, 2012. There were 62 people apprehended by the police in the assault, which eventually saw 23 of them named as suspects, two of the suspects were minors.
The then South Jakarta Police Chief, Sr. Comr. Imam Sugianto, confirmed that Bahar bin Smith led the mass and was armed with a katana-like sword. However, Bahar maintained that he armed himself as an anticipative measure to protect himself from the guards that secured the nightclub he vandalized.
The same police station also arrested Bahar bin Smith in a different attack against Ahmadiyah followers two years prior to the incident on Jl. Veteran Raya.