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There's no evidence that the allegation is true, but it has spread like wildfire on social media.

Tunggul Kumoro   30 January 2017 17:45

Lawyers for Islamic Defenders Front Chief Advocate Rizieq Shihab say he plans to take legal steps against people who spread rumors of an alleged extramarital affair with a colleague.

The FPI has been the subject of intense media, legal and public scrutiny as it has emerged as a vocal populist and hardline religious voice in the run-up to Jakarta's gubernatorial election on Feb. 15. It has organized and Rizieq has been a leading figure in numerous protests against the incumbent Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama.

Rumors about an alleged affair began circulating on a website (warning: graphic images) along with screenshots of a supposed WhatsApp conversation between Rizieq and a colleague identified by the initials F.H.

An apparent recording of F.H. telling her friend about the affair, and even some private pictures of the woman also began circulating, and the story has rapidly gone viral since earlier today.

F.H. is allegedly in Rizieq's close circle. She is also the chairman of an organization called Sahabat Cendana Solidarity Foundation —a sister organization of FPI.

Kapitra Ampera, a member of the FPI's legal team, told Vivanews and Tribunnews that his camp has started work to find the culprit behind the rumors.

Kapitra said it is impossible for Rizieq to have uses the language shown in the chat sceenshots.

"It's impossible for the person on the phone to be Habib Rizieq (sic). His language is vulgar yet he sounds like a thug. It's not the way he speaks," he said on Monday.

Moreover, according to Kapitra, Rizieq has not used his mobile phone since the massive anti-Ahok rally on Nov. 4 last year as he believed it was bugged.

The lawyer is planning to file and charge the site creator and distributor with Law No. 11/2008 on Electronic Information and Transactions.

The team have accused two people identified in the Indonesian legal tradition by their initials as M.R. and L.P.

The team said the rumor is part of a well-planned mission to defame Rizieq.

"(We intend to report) to the Criminal Investigation Body (Bareskrim) immediately. We have discussed it with the advocacy team. It must be investigated," said Kapitra.

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