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Police Kill 6 Supporters of Hardline Islamic Cleric in Jakarta, Indonesia Clash

Indonesian Islamic cleric and the leader of Islamic Defenders Front Rizieq Shihab, center, speaks to his followers upon arrival from Saudi Arabia at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Indonesia, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020. Thousands of…

Authorities in Indonesia say six supporters of a hardline Muslim cleric were killed Monday during a clash with police officers on a Jakarta highway.

According to police officials, the officers were following a motorcade carrying followers of Rizieq Shihab shortly after midnight when the followers stopped the police car and attacked it with guns, sickles and a sword, prompting the officers to open fire in self-defense.

A spokesman for Rizieq denied the allegations, calling the six followers victims of an “extrajudicial killing” at the hands of police. Munarman said the convoy was carrying the cleric and his family to an early morning prayer event when the clash occurred.

Rizieq heads the Islamic Defenders Front, which has gained attention for its extremism. He returned to Indonesia last month from Saudi Arabia, where he spent three years in self-exile after he was charged with pornography.

Police officials say they have been investigating Rizieq for violating coronavirus restrictions since his return, including holding mass gatherings with his supporters and refusing to undergo mandated coronavirus testing. He has been summoned by police for questioning over his events.

Rizieq has issued a call for a “moral crusade” to impose his version of Sharia law in Indonesia.