Jakarta rally calls for tolerance after blasphemy probe
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.