Saturday, November 5, 2016

Indonesia: One dead, seven injured after Islamist march

(Jakarta) In Indonesia (the world’s most populous Muslim country), a massive protest against a charge of blasphemy by a Christian politician Basuki Tjahaja Purnama turned violent last night. The march on the capital by thousands of religious bigots led to one person dying and seven being injured in the streets of the capital Jakarta.

The protest came about after a video of a speech by Basuki Tjahaja Purnama that was considered to be edited and went viral among Muslims. In the video, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama challenged his constituents to not be easily deceived by Muslim scholars who are using their interpretation of the Koran (Surah Al Maidah, verse 51) in which to have the faithful not elect non-Muslims as their leaders; but he acknowledged that if they chose to vote against him, it would be their right.

In a nutshell, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama is seeking a second term as Jakarta governor. He is seen as a blunt speaker who does not tolerate corruption and articulates a vision of making the chaotic, dysfunctional city more like clean, orderly and efficient Singapore. But the anti-corruption stance has made him enemies, and played to a stereotype of Chinese as exploiters of Indonesia’s poor Muslim masses. So the so called Islamic leaders have promoted the message that Muslims should not vote for a non-Muslim. He in turn has mentioned this overt religious gerrymandering, and faster than you can utter ‘Allah Ackba’ he has been classed as a blasphemer, which, as we all know, is the best way to galvanise the faithful who mobilise in seconds in which to demand the arrest of the person in question. Yup, nothing like playing dirty when you wish to dirty the image of an innocent person in any Islamic-rich environment.