JAKARTA 4 Nov – Tens of thousands of hard-line Muslims took to street after Friday prayer to demand the Chinese Christian Governor, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama or well known as “Ahok” be prosecuted for blasphemy, for allegedly insulting the Islam’s holy book, the Quran.
About 20,000 police and military personnel secured the route of the demonstrators in Central Jakarta for fear from extremists groups sparking violence.
The protest began legally peaceful during the day but after clashes between the police and demonstrators happened, it led to the police using tear gas to disperse the aggressive crowd outside the Presidential Palace.
Many people were treated in hospital, suffering from the exposure to the tear gas and head injuries from thrown objects. The clashes left one person dead and 12 wounded, according to some sources.
Sources said that some Islamic groups had urged voters not to re-elect Ahok following Verse 51 from the fifth Surah or Chapter of the Quran, al-Ma’ida which some interpret as prohibiting Muslims from living under the leadership of a non-Muslim.
Meanwhile, others say the scripture should be understood in its context – a time of war and not interpreted literally.
Muslim groups accused Ahok of blasphemy after he appeared in a video saying that his opponents had deceived voters by attacking him using a verse from the Quran.
Ahok has been a close ally of Mr. Widodo for decades. He was deputy governor of Jakarta when Widodo was the governor and took over when Widodo stepped down in 2014 to contest the presidency.
Following the incident, Tan Sri Rais Yatim, Advisor in Socio-Cultural Matters to Malaysian Government commented in his Facebook: ‘’The demonstration relating to Ahok in Jakarta is a reflection everyone should learn and adhere to the sensitivities in religion and culture. –malaysiaworldnews. com