Pu­lau Seribu Folks De­fend Gov­er­nor Ahok Against Blas­phemy Al­le­ga­tions


At the lat­est hear­ing of Jakarta Gov­er­nor Ba­suki ‘Ahok’ Tja­haja Pur­nama’s on­go­ing trial for al­leged blas­phemy, many wit­nesses were called on by the prose­cu­tion. The wit­nesses tes­ti­fied that they had seen Ahok make the al­leged blas­phe­mous ref­er­ence to verse Al Maidah 51 of the Qu­ran when he was in the Pu­lau Seribu district, ad­dress­ing a group of cit­i­zens on Pra­muka Is­land in late Septem­ber.

Ahok and his lawyers noted, how­ever, that none of the wit­nesses af­fil­i­ated with Is­lamic hard­liner or­ga­ni­za­tions, in­clud­ing the Is­lamic De­fend­ers Front ( FPI), were ac­tu­ally present at Pra­muka Is­land in Pu­lau Seribu when the Jakarta gov­er­nor made his speech – they only saw a video of the speech some time later.

In fact, most of those who filed the po­lice re­ports against the gov­er­nor were not ac­tu­ally in Pu­lau Seribu and did not ac­tu­ally at­tend the cam­paign where the gov­er­nor made the speech.

Ahok and his lawyers ex­plained that if he was ac­tu­ally guilty of blas­phem­ing Is­lam, then those who were in the au­di­ence lis­ten­ing to his speech would have re­acted im­me­di­ately.

Twenty-one-year-old lo­cal res­i­dent Abdi told re­porters at the Jakarta gov­er­nor’s Men­teng cam­paign head­quar­ters, that if he wit­nessed Ahok in­sult­ing his re­li­gion, “I would have stabbed him [ Pak Ahok] right there.”

Abdi added that the cit­i­zens of the Pu­lau Seribu district, a Mus­lim-ma­jor­ity area, would not have stayed silent if Gov­er­nor Ahok had in fact in­sulted Is­lam. He also stated that no one from Pu­lau Seribu had joined the anti-Ahok protests or­ga­nized by the FPI and the other hard-line Is­lamic or­ga­ni­za­tions.

Abdi and some other Pu­lau Seribu cit­i­zens were at the gov­er­nor’s head­quar­ters last week to show their sup­port for Ahok. The gov­er­nor’s Pu­lau Seribu sup­port­ers were con­fused as to why peo­ple were an­gered over Ahok’s speech.

Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Habib Novel of the FPI’s Jakarta chap­ter and one of the lead­ing anti-Ahok ac­tivists has ar­gued in court that he had re­ceived calls and SMS mes­sages from Pu­lau Seribu res­i­dents who told him about the speech and how they felt in­sulted by it.

Ahok noted, how­ever, that Novel couldn’t pro­vide ev­i­dence for that claim, as he said all call and SMS logs have al­ready been deleted.

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