Jakarta rally calls for tol­er­ance af­ter blas­phemy probe

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - NEWS - By NIniek Karmini

The Is­lamic De­fend­ers Front, a vig­i­lante group that wants to im­pose Shariah law in sec­u­lar In­done­sia, be­gan de­mand­ing Ahok’s ar­rest af­ter a video cir­cu­lated on­line in which he joked to an au­di­ence about a pas­sage in the Qu­ran that could be in­ter­preted as pro­hibit­ing Mus­lims from ac­cept­ing non-Mus­lims as lead­ers. The gov­er­nor has apol­o­gized for the com­ment.

Blas­phemy is a crim­i­nal of­fense in In­done­sia. Amnesty In­ter­na­tional doc­u­mented 106 con­vic­tions be­tween 2004 and 2014, with some in­di­vid­u­als im­pris­oned for up to five years.

Ahok is the sec­ond Chris­tian gov­er­nor of Jakarta since In­done­sia de­clared in­de­pen­dence in 1945, and the first eth­nic Chi­nese to run the sprawl­ing, chaotic city. He is pop­u­lar with the city’s mid­dle class, but has made en­e­mies from a tough stance against cor­rup­tion and an ur­ban pro­gram that has evicted thou­sands of the city’s poor­est from slums.

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