FPI Angered Over Sinetron Actor’s ‘Fake’ Conversion to Islam

By Chairul Fikri on 06:01 pm Nov 15, 2013
Category News
Asmirandah and Jonas Rivanno Wattimena (BeritaSatu Photo)

Asmirandah and Jonas Rivanno Wattimena (BeritaSatu Photo)

A sinetron actor has inspired the ire of the hard-line Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) over his “fake” conversion to Islam, the Islamist group said on Friday.

Actor Jonas Rivanno Wattimena reportedly converted to Islam at An Nur mosque, in Depok, West Java, earlier this year. The Indonesia Ulema Council (MUI) allegedly verified the conversion by releasing an official document declaring the conversion. But Jonas, who was born a Christian, denied the claim on Oct. 30. The rumors, he said, had upset his family, prompting the actor to respond to the allegations in Kota Wisata, Cibubur, East Jakarta.

“There’s no shahada [declaration], I’m a Christian,” Jonas told the Indonesian newspaper Tempo.

His fiance Asmirandah Zantman, who allegedly witnessed the conversion and is Muslim, denied the event took place. The two are scheduled to get married in January of next year.

The denial irked the FPI who demanded an apology from the actor.

“I hope people will not play with religion,” Idrus Al Gadri, head of Depok chapter of the FPI, said on Friday. “This is about creed and it can be dangerous. We want Jonas to apologize for lying, or else we will continue the legal proceeding, accusing him of religious blasphemy.”

Blasphemy is against the law in Indonesia and punishable by up to five years in prison. But the FPI’s complaint failed to move police in Depok to action. The officers, on hearing the FPI chapter head’s grievances, told the hard-liners to take the issue up with police in East Jakarta.

The 26-year-old’s family reached out to the FPI directly, heading off any possible legal action in an attempt to solve the issue peacefully. The FPI said they listened to the family, but still demanded an apology.

“I told them no, we still want Jonas to apologize publicly for his statement because he clearly hurt Islam,” Idrus said. “Apologizing is easy, but it will be a lesson for everyone else not to play with religion.”

Jonas rose to stardom with the 2009 RCTI sinetron “Nikita,” a remake of the Japanese drama “Tokyo Love Story,” where he acted alongside his now-fiance Asmirandah. He most recently starred in the soap opera “Binar Bening Berlian,” (“Shining Bright Diamond”) which has run for more than 140 episodes.

  • Roland

    I don’t understand – for what does he have to apologize? For not being converted to Islam? For stating in public that such an event never took place? For “lying”? Allegations of blasphemy for what? BTW wasn’t it SBY who pushed for a globally blasphemy law? What the f*** are those FPI talking about? Someone seemingly started a rumour and the person targeted needs to apologize for that?
    Weird demands, weird story, weird threats? Basically (as usual!) – weird FPI and of course useless police which doesn’t stop this group but just sends them off to another police quarter? How about a charge for slander against this group?

    • zerodiversity

      It’s a dumb organization that should never be allowed to exist. They contribute nothing towards the welfare of the country and I might add nothing towards the Islamic faith other than further damaging the name of Islam in the eyes of many other countries.

  • Botak

    The FPI should mind their own business. They are playing all the time with religion and politics.

    Actually the best would be to strip everyone who violates the Pancasila of his citizen/ nationality status. and kick them out.

  • antifreeze

    A timely diversion from the real issues.

    Is there no area of the human psyche that these fools don’t pretend expertise in ?

  • weegie-boy

    “he clearly hurt Islam” and what about the FPI and their attacks? Of course, they don’t do anything bad to harm Islam do they? Yeah right.

    As Dawkin’s is always stating, “Religion, together we will find a cure” and not before time I might add.

    The whole idea of a blasphemy law is just stupid beyond belief. How can you punish someone for something you will never never be able to prove exits! It’s a bloody joke, is what it is.

  • TGIF

    Come on…How many foreigners married to Indonesian spouses convert for formalities only. Some do not even practice their previous faith and so will they even practice the new converted faith?? NOT. However if some foreign individual or other former faith individual for that matter do practice the new converted faith then it is their own business and it should not be raised as a problem for some bigoted radical Islamist group who want to play Allah themselves. Blasphemy?? Really?? The FPI should look themselves in the mirror for a change, the truth of their so-called religious practices are certainly ugly and evil.

    This actor should have kept his mouth shut and continue with his interfaith marriage without a hitch. It would be up to him to practice or not down the road. How many Indonesian Muslims don’t even practice their own religion closely….practice what you preach with honesty otherwise leave others alone.

    • antifreeze

      Most Muslims and are quite at ease with these ‘paper work’ conversions since any offspring of the marriage ( which is surely its primary raison d’etre in religious terms) will be born into the faith. As you say though, probably best for the converted to keep their true feelings and beliefs to themselves. Which would not a bad guideline for all, whatever their religious persuasion.

  • Botak

    FPI is only going after the ones where some money can be made. It has nothing to do about Islam, they are using it only as a cover to blackmail & threaten others.

    If I’m wrong, could someone explain to me why they never protested by the Qua-ran corruption (kick-back) case or by the missing haji funds?

    • mrlogic

      As far as the FPI is concerned, – the phrase ‘Get a life’ comes to mind.

      • sheldon

        I think that the opposite would be more appropriate for them

  • no.n.sense

    ‘I hope people will not play with religion’ says the FPI doughnut. I guess the FPI believes they have a monopoly on ‘playing with religion’.

    • sheldon

      Heck, I just posted the same thing

  • westtoeast

    It would appear that the country’s archaic marriage laws may be at fault here. Why should people feel they must convert from one religion to another in order to marry legally? The government should get out of the business of religion and vice versa.

  • buset

    I am a fake muslim, is there anything FPI going to do to me ?

  • sheldon

    “I hope people will not play with religion,” Idrus Al Gadri, head of Depok chapter of the FPI, said on Friday. “

    Hahaha. This is exactly what the FPI does all the time

  • Jonathan Jessopson

    The FPI are just unemployed and unemployable thugs. Nothing more and a whole lot less.

  • talibantubbies

    FPI is just a bunch of hooligans whose interest are only in money and that people have the same ideology as them no matter how flawed. Our company use these punks to collect delinquent payments and we would split 30 to 50% of the debt collected depending on difficulty. At least they honor the amount they take unlike the police who will most likely take everything if they manage to assist us in collecting any debt. Its funny see them in the news everyday doing stupid things like bullying the weak but when they are in the office negotiating they are like excited puppies happy to see the treats dangling infront of them. tell them to sit and they sit. Don’t waste your anger at them, its the government that is resposible for ruining our country and allowing these hooligans act the way they do.

    However, i am optimistic that people will continue to pick leaders based on their credentials like Jokowi/Basuki and not the promises of empty shells who bought their way into power. Long road people… but we’ll get there…