Indonesia: 150,000 Muslims demand arrest of Christian governor for “blasphemy”

Indonesia: 150,000 Muslims demand arrest of Christian governor for “blasphemy”, by Karlis Salna.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo sought to ease tension in the world’s most populous Muslim nation by appearing at a rally of more than 150,000 people seeking to jail Jakarta’s Christian governor, an ally of his, over blasphemy allegations. …

Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, a political ally of the president and who is locked in a three-way battle to retain his governorship, has been accused of blasphemy for comments in which he warned that voters were being deceived by people trying to use Koranic verses to say that Muslims were not permitted to support a Christian leader. Authorities confirmed this week that the case would proceed to trial, possibly within weeks.

Purnama, known as Ahok, who has denied the charges, faces up to five years in prison if convicted under Indonesia’s blasphemy laws. Authorities have so far resisted calls to arrest him, although he has been banned from leaving the country. …

Purnama, 50, became Jakarta governor in 2014 after Widodo, the city’s previous leader, won the presidency. …

Until the blasphemy case erupted, Purnama was the front-runner in a three-way race … The latest opinion now polls show Ahok trailing. “It may all be too late for Ahok,” Barton said. “His polling is way down and it’s quite possible the damage is done and he won’t recover.”

The Muslim majority flexing its political muscles.

hat-tip Stephen Neil