Chinese-Christian Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, otherwise referred to as Ahok, stands trial as his fiercest critic testifies against him. Islamic Defenders’ Front (FPI) leader Rizieq Shihab, one of Indonesia’s most controversial Islamic figures, stated yesterday in court, “He was trying to influence Muslims not to doubt when voting for him.” During an address for his political campaign the previous year, Ahok “cited the Qur’an when he told residents not to be miled by his opponents, who claimed the Holy Book forbids Muslims from electing a non-Muslim.” Ahok has been on trial since December of last year because of this comment. Despite accusations against Ahok, he continued his campaign for the gubernatorial election. However, since neither he nor his closes rival Anies Baswedan won the majority vote in the February polls, they are heading into a fun-off come this April.
03/01/2017 Indonesia (Strait Times) – One of Indonesia’s most controversial Islamic figures told a district court yesterday that Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama had intentionally insulted Islam in his bid to score votes among Muslims.
Islamic Defenders’ Front (FPI) leader Rizieq Shihab, testifying as a prosecution witness in the blasphemy trial against the governor, said: “He was trying to influence Muslims not to doubt when voting for him.”
The testimony by Mr Rizieq raised eyebrows because he is the governor’s fiercest critic.
He also has a string of criminal records, and is currently facing multiple charges – of insulting the national ideology of Pancasila and Christians, making hate speeches and, most recently, spreading pornography.
The charges facing Basuki, who is running for re-election, relate to a speech he delivered in Kepulauan Seribu district last September.
In his address, the Chinese-Christian politician, popularly known as Ahok, cited the Quran when he told residents not to be misled by his opponents, who claimed the Holy Book forbids Muslims from electing a non-Muslim.
Basuki has been on trial since December last year as he campaigned for the gubernatorial election, which is heading into a run-off in April. Neither he nor his closest rival Anies Baswedan won a majority vote in the polls on Feb 15.
The prosecution, on the recommendation of the Indonesian Ulema Council, called on Mr Rizieq as an expert witness on Islam during yesterday’s hearing, surprising many people.
Mr Rizieq played a major role in a series of anti-Ahok protests last year, when thousands turned up to rally against the governor.