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ICC Note:

Thousands in Indonesia gathered to protest Jakarta’s first Christian governor. Anger against the governor was fueled when he quoted the Quran in a speech to local fishermen, claiming that many were using the Quran against him, and implying that they were allowed to vote for a non-Muslim leader. Although Ahok has enjoyed a wide support base due to his policies and tough reforms, many feel that he should not be allowed to govern since he is not a Muslim. Indonesia is largely a moderate Islamic nation and is one of the most populous Islamic nations in the world with almost 13% of the world’s Muslims. Recent frustrations with the government and economy have allowed strong non-Muslim leaders such as Ahok to gain popularity.  

10/19/2016 Indonesia (Reuters) – Thousands of hardline Muslims have rallied in Jakarta in protest against the city’s ethnic Chinese and Christian governor, further fuelling ethnic tensions ahead his re-election bid in February.

Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, better known by his nickname “Ahok”, became Jakarta’s first ethnic Chinese governor in 2014, but hardline Muslims have opposed his rise to power.

Dressed in white, thousands of members of several hardline groups chanted anti-Ahok slogans surrounded by tight military and police security, but the demonstration last Friday was otherwise generally peaceful.

Speaking on the sidelines of the demonstration, Forum Umat Islam Secretary General Muhammad al Khaththath didn’t single out Purnama, but said leaders should be Muslim “because that is what the Koran calls for.”

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