JAKARTA – Supporters of Indonesian preacher Abdul Somad Batubara staged protests in Jakarta and Medan, North Sumatra, on Friday (May 20) against Singapore’s recent move to deny him entry over his history of extremist teachings.
In Medan, about 250 of the preacher’s supporters first gathered at Medan Grand Mosque before marching to the Forum Nine office building, where Singapore’s Consulate-General is located.
Several of them held placards that read: “Expel Singapore Ambassador”, “Boycott Singapore products”, “Singapore Villain’s Lair”, “Singapore is Malay land, not Chinese property”, and “Singapore nasty and disgusting”.
The protest was organised by the Alliance of North Sumatra Islamic Mass Organisations, which represents various Islamic groups across the province.
Somad was born in North Sumatra and lives in Pekanbaru, the capital of neighbouring Riau province, where he spends much of his time when not travelling.
In a 45-second video posted on Twitter, a protester could be seen speaking through a loudspeaker and pointed out Somad’s popularity beyond Indonesia.
“He is welcome in Malaysia. He is welcome in Brunei. He is welcome in South-east Asia. But, a country named Singapore expels and refuses him without any specific reason. God is great,” he shouted to the crowd.