Habib Rizieq Shihab


Habib Rizieq Shihab

Habib Rizieq Shihab was born in Jakarta in 1965 into a family of Yemeni descent.

After completing his primary and secondary education in Jakarta, including several years at a local Christian school, he went on to study Islamic jurisprudence at King Saud University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He also studied in Malaysia for a year, starting but not completing a master's degree. After his studies Shihab took on a number of positions of influence in Islamic education including becoming the head of the secretariat of the Madrasah Aliyah Jamiat Kheir school in Jakarta and taking on a leadership position on the Islamic Education and Training Council for the greater Jakarta area.

After the fall of Suharto in 1998, he established the Front Pembela Islam (FPI, Islamic Defenders Front) and has been the organisation's secretary-general ever since. Through FPI Habib Rizieq has advanced his views on the necessity of implementing sharia law in Indonesia. In June 2008 he was arrested in connection with an attack on the National Alliance for the Freedom of Faith and Religion in Jakarta. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison from where he continued to advocate the banning of deviant groups such as Ahmadiyya.

Dr Kirsten E. Schulze, Associate Professor of International History, London School of Economics