“Indonesia’s upcoming regional elections have been overshadowed by Muslim mass protests against the candidacy of Jakarta’s Christian governor Ahok. The country is on a dangerous course, says Berthold Damshäuser.
The re-election of Jakarta’s Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, the minority Chinese-Christian governor, is not the only uncertainty shaking Indonesian politics. The future of the county’s secular democracy is becoming more unclear as Islamist groups gain more traction and visibility.
Ahok was accused in November 2016 of blasphemy by the “Islamic Defenders Front” (FPI) group, after he commented that “If you cannot vote for me because you’re afraid of being condemned to hell, you do not need to feel uneasy, as you are being fooled.” His critics say this was criticism of a verse from the Koran that could be interpreted as a warning for electing a non-Muslim leader.”