Jakarta Governor candidate Anies Baswedan said that his meeting with the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) leader Rizieq Shihab was conducted based on an invitation, not to gather votes for the upcoming Jakarta gubernatorial election.
Anies said that it is the governor candidates’ responsibility to met with the constituents and to do dialogues. “There’s an invitation from the Catholic community, I attend, [there is an invitation] from Christian community, I attend. I attend all [invitations], there’s nothing weird about that,” ANies said on Monday, January 2, 2017.
Anies said that during the meeting, he did not talked about election support with Rizieq. Instead, Anies said they were discussing issues currently happening in Jakarta. “Many of the questions [during the discussion] were related to the reclamation project,” Anies said.
Anies also explained that both he and Rizieq want to build Jakarta under the atmosphere of togetherness. “A spirit of unity can be achieved through dialogues. With discussions, there will be change of minds. Interaction is the first step of efforts to develop a respectful Jakarta,” Anies added.
Spokesman for Anies, Pandji Pragiwaksono, said that he can understand why the photo of a meeting between Anies and Rizieq went viral on social media. “If we want Jakarta to unite, we can’t burn bridges and spread hostility,” Pandji stated on his website.
Pandji asserted that what Anies did represents the quality of a leader that acts as a ‘bridge’ that unites the people. “Anies’ decision to meet with the FPI is the right decision. Because that way, Anies has considered [the FPI] as part of the society that needs to be unified with other [elements of the society],” Pandji said.