Bearing Witness from Prison in Indonesia

Bearing Witness from Prison in Indonesia, by Bob Osburn.

He is called Ahok, and until a few weeks ago he was one of Indonesia’s most powerful officials, the governor of Jakarta. He will spend the next two years in prison, but not before thousands of his supporters have held candlelight vigils in cities around the world. …

Ahok — or Basuki Purnama, as he is formally known — is headed to prison because hardline Muslims doctored a recording to make it sound as if he had blasphemed Islam during a recent campaign for another term as Jakarta’s governor. The real story is that Ahok is a Chinese evangelical Christian, a double-minority in the world’s largest Islamic nation. …

Perhaps the unjust jailing of Ahok has shocked Indonesia’s Islamic majority into self-awareness. There are hints online and elsewhere that Indonesia’s Muslims, most of whom are peaceful and tolerant, know that the persecution of Ahok has empowered the radical elements. From now on, religious politics will take priority in Indonesia. Has the Muslim majority released a genie that cannot be returned to the bottle?

hat-tip Stephen Neil