Shihab is a controversial figure. Besides this case (the Pancasila insult case), he is also accused of blasphemy, hate speech, plotting against the government, and illegally occupying land in Bogor. Moreover, last week he had to visit Central Jakarta police for questioning regarding his alleged claims that Indonesia's new banknotes - released by the nation's central bank (Bank Indonesia) - feature the communist hammer and sickle symbol (which were also used by the disbanded Indonesian Communist Party, PKI, before 1966). Earlier, the FPI leader had already been imprisoned twice - in 2003 and 2008 - for inciting hatred.

According to West Java Police, they have collected enough evidence against Shihab (in the form of videos and expert opinions) to make a case against him. Local media report that Shihab's alleged offenses can be punished by more than four years in prison.

The FPI is a hardline Islamic organization in Indonesia. The organization often uses violence (or the threat of violence) in name of the Islam. It was established in 1998 by Shihab and aims to implement Islamic law (sharia law) in Indonesia. Often calls are heard to disband or ban this hardline organization as they do not respect the state's monopoly on violence, oppose pluralism as well as Indonesia's state philosophy (Pancasila). The FPI was one of the organizers of the mass "anti-Ahok" demonstrations in Jakarta late last year when protesters urged the government to arrest Jakarta Governor Basuki Purnama Tjahja (Ahok) on grounds of allegedly insulting the Quran.

Indonesia’s Pancasila (the state ideology) promotes the five principles that unite the big pluralist nation: (1) belief in God, (2) justice and civility among peoples, (3) unity of Indonesia, (4) democracy through deliberation and consensus among representatives, and (5) social justice for all the people of Indonesia. The Pancasila was revealed by former president Sukarno in 1945 and have become the foundation of the Indonesian state.

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Ever since Jakarta Governor Ahok was reported to police for allegedly insulting the Quran in a speech delivered at Pulau Seribu off the coast of Jakarta in late-October 2016, religious and ethnic tensions have risen in Indonesia. Over the past couple of months various people (including political and religious leaders) were reported to police on claims of spreading hatred through videos that circulate on social media. These tensions are believed to be partly responsible for slowing growth of foreign direct investment into Indonesia in the last quarter of 2016. It is assumed that the ongoing ethnic and religious tensions in Indonesia are caused by Jakarta's regional election in February 2017. Ahok participates in this election and has a big chance of winning. Although Ahok currently serves as Jakarta Governor he was not elected at the previous election. In 2012 Joko Widodo was elected Jakarta Governor with Ahok as deputy. However, after Widodo decided to run for president (a successful run), Ahok - by law - replaced Widodo.