Islamic State supporters want Indonesian who claimed to be 26th prophet beheaded for insulting Islam’s Prophet Mohammed
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- Islamic State ISIS is an Islamic extremist terrorist organization controlling territory in Iraq...[+]
Affected Countries: indonesia;
Islamic State sympathisers have called for the beheading of an Indonesian man who claimed to be the “26th prophet”.
A man identifying himself as Jozeph Paul Zhang made the claim alongside other remarks offensive to Muslims in a YouTube video that went viral over the weekend.
Some experts have warned that Zhang’s ethnicity – he is thought to be ethnic Chinese – would fan “hatred” and could lead to attacks against Indonesian Chinese and non-Muslims in the country.
Prophet Mohammed, the founder of Islam, is revered by Muslims as the 25th and final prophet.
Indonesian police are investigating the case as one of blasphemy and are in the process of having an Interpol red notice issued against him.
Local media quoting immigration authorities said Zhang left Indonesia in January 2018 and headed for Hong Kong.
“We strongly believe the person in question is somewhere in Europe,” Indonesian National Police spokesman Rusdi Hartono told This Week in Asia.
Hartono later told a press conference Zhang is now in Germany.
Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim nation, with over 90 per cent of its 270 million people identifying as Muslim.
Followers of the faith are currently observing the holy month of Ramadan, fasting from dawn to dusk to purify themselves.
In a separate video, seen by local news portal Detik.com on Monday (April 19), Zhang said he had already renounced his Indonesian citizenship and that any actions against him would have to be “decided by the laws of Europe”.
Zhang’s remarks follow confessions a fortnight ago by at least two members of a banned Islamist group, the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), that they were plotting to attack China-linked businesses and shops run by Indonesian Chinese.
The men were part of a group of four FPI suspects who were arrested. At least 5.5kg (12.1lbs) of explosive materials were seized.
This incident comes on the heels of two terror attacks – a church suicide bombing in Makassar, South Sulawesi, by a newlywed couple followed by an attempted terror attack by a 25-year-old woman at the Indonesian police headquarters.
Ramadan is known as a favoured time for militants to launch terror attacks as they believe they will earn double the merits during this period and enter into Heaven.
The Indonesian Chinese community has been the target of racially aggravated violence at various points in the country’s history.
“[Zhang] is deliberately making a sensation to become famous. Unfortunately, he is endangering the Tionghua community and non-Muslims in Indonesia,” said Muh Taufiqurrohman, senior researcher at the Jakarta-based Centre for Radicalism and Deradicalisation Studies, using a local term to refer to Indonesian Chinese.
Zhang’s ethnicity is not clear. While his name has led many to assume he is Chinese, police say his real name is Shindy Paul Soerjomoljono.
Taufiqurrohman said Islamic State (Isis) supporters in Indonesia and Malaysia had already made calls on social media for Zhang’s beheading. He said pro al-Qaeda groups were also incensed.
Messages calling for Zhang’s killing were accompanied by a picture of a man blindfolded and forced to kneel before an executioner.
“Even members of the country’s moderate Muslim organisation the Nahdlatul Ulama are angry with Zhang,” said Taufiqurrohman, adding that he believed hatred against the Chinese community would “rise again” as a result of the video.
The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) said Zhang had “hurt the feelings of Muslims”.
“I greatly regret the words of a person named Paul Zhang … He insulted the Prophet Mohammed by claiming himself to be the 26th prophet,” Amirsyah Tambunan, secretary general of MUI, told local media.
Johanes Herlijanto, a lecturer at Pelita Harapan University in Jakarta, said the incident was likely to “cause worries” for Indonesian Chinese as it appeared from his name that Zhang was ethnically Chinese.
Source: Asia One