Superstar Islamic preacher Abdul Somad has been caught in a blasphemy controversy. (Antara Photo/Feny Selly)

Police Investigate Blasphemy Accusations Against Popular Islamic Preacher


AUGUST 20, 2019

Jakarta. The police have begun to look into blasphemy charges against Islamic cleric Abdul Somad, who has been accused of insulting the Christian symbol of the cross, and confirmed that they will soon summon the popular preacher for questioning. 

Several Christian organizations have pressed blasphemy charges against the preacher to the police, including the Indonesian Christian Student Movement (GMKI), who reported Somad to the National Police's Criminal Investigation Agency in Jakarta.

Chief Comr. Rickynaldo Chairul from the National Police said they will summon the cleric after studying the case in detail. The police will also try to find the person who uploaded the video showing Somad making negative comments about the cross.

"If what he or she did broke the electronic transaction law, we will hand over the case to the cyber team. But if not, this kind of case is usually processed by the general crimes directorate... [we are] still waiting for that decision," Rickynaldo said at the National Police headquarters on Tuesday.

Vice President Jusuf Kalla has called Somad out and asked him to explain his statements in the video.

"He needs to clarify what happened... according to procedure," Kalla said in Jakarta on Tuesday.

Somad is facing a series of blasphemy charges after a video went viral showing him telling a crowd in a mosque that the Christian crucifix is the dwelling place of an "infidel jinn." 

"A woman asked me once, 'Why do I get the chills whenever I think about a crucifix?' Because there is an infidel jinn in the crucifix, because of the statue [of Christ] on it [...]. That's why we should never worship a statue," Somad said in the video. 

Other than the GMKI, other organizations that have reported Somad to the police include Meo Brigade, a Christian organization based in East Nusa Tenggara, and Batak-Christian organization Horas Bangso Batak.