"Like in the past, while leaving Indonesia, we granted him his rights to leave. It was not our demand that he departed the country. Now, when he returns, we also grant him his rights to get back home," Mahfud MD noted at his office here Monday.
Speaking in connection with Shihab's return for good from Saudi Arabia after an over three-year self-imposed exile, Mahfud MD, the coordinating minister for political, legal, and security affairs, affirmed that he had protected rights to return to his home country.
The Indonesian government noted that his return to the country is aimed at carrying out an "Akhlaq Revolution" that Mahfud MD believes will bring goodness for the nation and state.
Based on the noble essence of this revolution of "akhlaq", "most commonly translated as disposition, nature, temper, ethics, morals or manners (of a person)", crowds congregating to greet Shihab must do so in an orderly and peaceful manner, he emphasized.
"Please pick him up, but please do it in an orderly, harmonious, and peaceful manner as Habib Rizieq Shihab often advices," Mahfud MD remarked, adding that individuals, who instigated riots, were certainly not Shihab's loyalists.
Shihab's followers always conduct themselves in an orderly and peaceful manner, he affirmed.
Mahfud MD also instructed police officers, dispatched to secure this influential ulema's return, to steer clear of applying excessive and repressive approaches.
"Security personnel need not adopt an excessive approach because this (Shihab's arrival) is just an ordinary and regular matter," he explained.
It has become increasingly important to secure the Soekarno Hatta International Airport area, which has turned out to be a meeting point for crowds gathering to welcome the arrival of Shihab and his family members at the airport's Terminal 3 and FPI's headquarters in Petamburan, Jakarta.
"Owing to the rising number of people eager to greet him, doubling up security at the place has become necessary, though it should not be done excessively," Mahfud stated, adding that Shihab must also be guarded from the airport to his residence in Petamburan.
"Avoid engaging in repressive acts. Habib Rizieq and his entourage must securely and safely be guarded until they arrive at their residence," he stated.
Born in Jakarta on August 24, 1965, Shihab obtained his bachelors degree in Islamic studies from Saudi Arabia's King Saud University with honors (cum laude) and his masters degree from Malaysia's Universiti Malaya.
Known as an expert in Indonesia's state ideology of Pancasila, he is an influential ulema, who is regarded by scores of Muslims in Indonesia as their "imam," or leader.
Shihab is also known as a central figure behind the historical 212 rally held by the National Movement to Safeguard the Indonesian Ulema Councils Fatwa (GNPF-MUI) on December 2, 2016.
Participants at the rally during that time comprised some seven million Indonesian Muslims hailing from different parts of the country and abroad to demand the prosecution of then Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (Ahok) after he was accused of insulting Islam.