Six suspected supporters of a prominent Indonesian Muslim cleric were killed in a clash with police on Monday, according to a Jakarta police chief.
Fadel Omran said that the accident occurred shortly after midnight on Sunday, when a police car was attacked while tracking a car believed to be carrying supporters of cleric Rezeq Shihab, leading to an exchange of fire.
Police are investigating the controversial cleric over health protocol violations during the coronavirus pandemic after large gatherings to celebrate his return to the world’s largest Muslim-majority country. Self-exile in Saudi Arabia.
The 55-year-old, a troubling cleric who heads the Islamic Defense Front (FPI), a conservative Islamist group that has become politically influential in recent years, left Indonesia in 2017 after facing charges of pornography and insulting the state’s ideology.
Despite the allegations, which his supporters say are untrue and an attempt to discredit him, Ruzik’s voluntary exile appears to have done little to lessen his appeal.
When it landed in the capital, Jakarta, tens of thousands poured into the airport in a white Islamist snatch, ignoring the protocols of the Corona virus and demanding to kiss his hand.
Before leaving Indonesia, Ruzik was the leader of the 212th militant movement that opposed the former Christian Jakarta ruler, Basuki Tejaha Purnama, known as Ahok, who was charged and ultimately imprisoned for insulting Islam.
The marches were the largest since the fall of former dictator Suharto in 1998.
In the weeks following his return, Ruzik announced his plans to embark on a “moral campaign” and met with some politicians and opposition figures.
FPI officials could not be reached for comment on the bloody clash with police on Monday.