A court in Jakarta sentenced hardline cleric Rizieq Shihab to eight months in prison for flouting Covid-19 protocols in Indonesia. Shihab returned from Saudi Arabia in November last year. He was in self-imposed exile in Saudi Arabia for three years after facing pornography charges in Indonesia. After his return to the country, he attended many mass gatherings including the marriage of his daughter. The court also imposed a fine of S$2,213. Shihab is a preacher associated with the outlawed Islamic Defender’s Front. The prosecutors had sought two years jail term but the defence argued that it was a politically motivated case. Islamic Defender’s Front had come to limelight after it organised a massive protest in 2016 against the then Christian governor of Jakarta. The Indonesian government had banned many radical Islamist organisations, including Islamic Defender’s Front. Indonesia, with a population of 27 crores, has about 24 crore Muslims. It has been struggling with the surge in Covid-19 cases. More than 3000 security personnel were deployed to check any violent protest by his supporters.
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Various Hindu ashrams and prominent monks in Kerala have formed the Kerala Dharmacharya Sabha (KDS), a forum to form an authoritative opinion on all issues confronting the community. The body has a 23-member executive committee comprising swamis and priests. A meeting held in Kochi was attended by representatives of leading ashrams and institutions. Swami Chidananda Puri of Advaithashramam in Kozhikode was elected the KDS chairman, while Mullappally Krishnan Namboodiri of Tantric Vidya Peedho ...