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Fake News & Increased Persecution in Indonesia

In May and June 2017, a 40-year-old Muslim woman working as a state hospital physician in West Sumatra had her workplace and home stormed by dozens of alleged members of the FPI (Front Pembela Islam/Islam Defender Front). She was threatened and intimidated— accused as an ulama (religious leader)-slandering pelacur (whore) and a Communist—for posting a status on Facebook that criticised Habib Rizieq Shihab, leader of the FPI. For safety reasons, legal aid moved her to Jakarta. A 15-year-old boy of Chinese descent in Jakarta had his house stormed at midnight, was dragged outside and beaten for making comments insulting Rizieq and the FPI, and then forced to sign a statement of apology by a group of people claiming to be members of the FPI. The family’s legal press release stated that there were more than 100 people involved, and that the family had been ejected by their landlord for fear of his house being stormed again. The boy’s mother, a widow, lost her job because her workplace had similar fears.

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