Indonesians call for jailing of Christian governor

A muslim protester shouts slogans during a protest against Jakarta's Christian Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Friday, May 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)A muslim protester shouts slogans during a protest against Jakarta's Christian Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Friday, May 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

Thousands of conservative Muslims took to the streets of the Indonesian capital on Friday to call for the jailing of its minority Christian governor who is on trial on charges of blaspheming the Quran.

At least several thousand white-robed protesters marched after Friday prayers at Istiqlal Mosque in central Jakarta until reaching the nearby Supreme Court building.

Advertisement

The protest comes just days before a district court announces its verdict in Gov. Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama's blasphemy trial.

Some of the protesters held flags, banners and placards that said "Justice must be upheld" and "Ahok, the blasphemer of Islam, must be jailed."

Prosecutors last month recommended a two-year suspended prison sentence for Ahok. The relatively light sentencing demand was made a day after Ahok was defeated by a landslide election victory for a Muslim rival backed by conservative clerics. Ahok's term as governor ends in October.

The maximum penalty for blasphemy in Muslim-majority Indonesia is five years in prison. Prosecutors recommended one-year prison if Ahok violates his probation.

"We are here because we are disappointed with prosecutors who were blind and deaf to the aspirations of Muslims," said Bahruddin Rabbani, an Islamic boarding school teacher from Banten, a neighboring province of Jakarta.

Ahok was accused of blasphemy last year when a video surfaced of him telling voters they were being deceived if they believed a specific verse in the Quran prohibited Muslims from electing a non-Muslim as leader.

Hard-line Islamic groups have attracted hundreds of thousands to anti-Ahok protests in Jakarta, shaking the government of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and undermining Indonesia's reputation for practicing a moderate form of Islam.

"We believe that Ahok's use of our holy Quran for political campaigning constituted blasphemy," said another protester, Ahmad Salman. "We want to see the blasphemer of Islam in jail."

A verdict from the five-judge panel is expected on Tuesday.

 

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement
More: Asia / Islam

The latest from america

 10.17.2018 Pope Francis greets Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago before a session of the Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment at the Vatican Oct. 16. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)
“We take people where they are, walking with them, moving forward,” Cardinal Blase Cupich said.
Michael J. O’LoughlinOctober 20, 2018
Catherine Pakaluk, who currently teaches at the Catholic University of America and holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University, describes her tweet to Mr. Macron as “spirited” and “playful.”
Emma Winters October 19, 2018
A new proposal from the Department of Homeland Security could make it much more difficult for legal immigrants to get green cards in the United States. But even before its implementation, the proposal has led immigrants to avoid receiving public benefits.
J.D. Long-GarcíaOctober 19, 2018
 Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, then nuncio to the United States, and then-Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington, are seen in a combination photo during the beatification Mass of Blessed Miriam Teresa Demjanovich at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, N.J., Oct. 4, 2014. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)
In this third letter Archbishop Viganò no longer insists, as he did so forcefully in his first letter, that the restrictions that he claimed Benedict XVI had imposed on Archbishop McCarrick—one he alleges that Pope Francis later lifted—can be understood as “sanctions.”
Gerard O’ConnellOctober 19, 2018