This video shows an Indonesian magazine giving an award to a Muslim leader who was in self-imposed exile in Saudi Arabia

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A video has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube alongside a claim that it shows Rizieq Shihab, leader of the Islamic Defenders Front, receiving an award "from Malaysia". The claim is misleading; the footage actually shows Indonesian magazine Moeslim Choice giving an award in 2018 to Rizieq, who was reportedly in self-imposed exile in Saudi Arabia at the time.  

The four-minute, 23-second video was posted on Facebook here on December 25, 2020. It has been viewed more than 8,400 times. 

Screenshot of the misleading post, taken on January 8, 2020

The caption of the Indonesian-language post translates to English as: “HRS Received the ‘Muslim Cleric Moeslim Choice Award’ from Malaysia.” 

HRS is an acronym for Habib Rizieq Shihab. Habib is an honorific title used to refer to Muslim scholars believed to be descendant of the Prophet Muhammad. 

Rizieq Shihab was leader of the Islamic Defenders Front, a Muslim group that was banned by the Indonesian government on December 30, 2020. The ban came just weeks after Rizieq was arrested for allegedly violating Covid-19 protocols. 

The same footage, which has been viewed more than 280,000 times, also appeared alongside a similar claim on Facebook here, here, here and here; on Twitter here and here; as well as on YouTube here and here.

The claim is misleading.

A combined reverse image and keyword searches on Google found the original footage posted here on the YouTube channel of MOESLIM CHOICE TV on December 18, 2018. 

The video’s Indonesian-language title translates to English as: “MUSLIM CLERIC AWARD: Habib Muhammad Rizieq Shihab.”

Moeslim Choice Award is an annual event held by Jakarta-based Moeslim Choice magazine.  

Below is screenshot comparison between the video in the misleading post (L) and the Moeslim Choice TV footage (R):

Screenshot comparison between the video in the misleading post (L) and the Moeslim Choice TV footage (R)

On December 13, 2018, the magazine published this report headlined: “Habib Rizieq Awarded the Moeslimchoice Muslim Cleric Award”. 

The first two sentences of the report read: “Because he is regarded as a representation of the Islamic struggle, the Islamic Defenders Front Great Leader Habib Rizieq Shihab was awarded MoeslimChoice Muslim Cleric Award. 

“The award was received by Habib Muhammad Hanif Alattas LC, Habib Rizieq’s son-in-law.” 

Rizieq, who left Indonesia in 2017, was in self-imposed exile in Saudi Arabia at that time. He returned in November 2020. 

The 2018 event in Jakarta and also reported by local media Suara.com and Warta Ekonomi