CHRISTIANITY DAILY

Thousands of Indonesians March in Support of Jakarta's Christian Governor Charged for Blasphemy

Indonesian Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama
(Photo : Goverment of the Province of Jakarta/Wikimedia/CC)
Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama has been named a suspect of blasphemy over an edited video. Thousands of Indonesians protested in his support last week in the nation's capital.

Over 10,000 Indonesians rallied on the streets of Jakarta last week to call on their countrymen to unite in support of the Christian Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, who is under investigation for his comments on the Quran. He was interrogated for nine hours by the police, and has officially been charged as a suspect in blasphemy case.

The protesters urged the citizens to demonstrate tolerance and not be divided by chaos perpetrated by political interests.

The demonstration was held at the National Monument at Merdeka Square in the capital city, with people carrying a huge Indonesian flag and shouting, "United Indonesia cannot be defeated."

Earlier this month, hundreds of thousands of Muslims gathered in Jakarta to call for Purnama's arrest. Riots were also reported from the city, which led to the death of one person even as several others were injured. Radicals are demanding that the governor be arrested.

However, a professor admitted that he edited the video of Purnama's comments before posting it on Facebook to make it seem like he was insulting the Quran.

The video makes it look like the governor is saying that the Quran is lying to people in Surah 5:51. But the governor was known to have said, "You've been lied to by [people] misquoting the 51st verse of the Al-Maidah."

The professor was questioned by National Police on November 17, and his lawyer told reporters that his client has admitted to editing the video to distort the meaning of the governor's comments.

Lawmakers, religious leaders, and human rights activists were among those marching in support of Purnama.

Purnama is the only currently serving Christian governor in Indonesia, and the second one in history of the country. He is contesting his re-election and in February. If convicted of blasphemy, he can spend up to five years in prison. The governor is popular among the people because of his crackdown on corruption and was likely to win his second term before the blasphemy case was levelled against him, according to a city-based survey reported by The Jakarta Post.

Tags Indonesian Christian Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, Indonesian Christian Governor blasphemy accusation

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