Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, the first Christian governor in Indonesia, has been named as a suspect in a blasphemy investigation. The governor, who is known as “Ahok,” was appointed to serve the nation’s capital city, Jakarta, in 2014 and is currently running for re-election.
Christianity Today reports Ahok is under fire for the way he used a verse in the Koran while speaking to a group in September. He said, “Do not believe everything that people say because often you are deceived by using 51st of Surah Al Maidah (the fifth chapter of the Qur‘an).”
Some interpret the verse to mean that Muslims should not vote for those of other religions.
In response to Ahok’s speech, 100,000 people signed a petition calling for legal action against the governor. Additionally, thousands of civilians protested, some clashing with police and setting cars on fire.
Ahok apologized for his words, but the fervor has continued.
Islamic organization Nahdlatul Ulama has called on Indonesian civilians to refrain from protesting and forgive the governor.
Publication date: November 22, 2016