Governor Ahok, who is running for re-election, was named a suspect of blasphemy last week for remarks he made in a campaign speech on September 27. Governor Ahok had stated, “(You are) deceived (by people) using Al-Maidah 51.” The remarks, which alluded to a verse in the Quran, were made in response to push-back received from ultraconservative Muslims in the nation who believe a non-Muslim should not be able to hold a leadership office, and use this verse to support their view.
Massive protests have been held calling for the arrest of Governor Ahok, despite his public apologies stating he never meant to offend anyone. One protest resulted in the death of an individual.
Many are upset that it appears the police have made Ahok a suspect of blasphemy after falling to the pressures of demonstrators instead of the judging the situation through the lenses of the law. Indonesia remains caught between progressing into a nation that allows religious freedom and the pressures from hardliner Muslims to become a strict Islamic nation.
We celebrate the fact that Governor Ahok is the second Christian governor of Jakarta, following Henk Ngantung who was governor from 1964 until 1965. We hope to see more Christian leaders rise up in Indonesia.
Please pray that Governor Ahok will no longer be viewed as a suspect, and that the protests will cease. Pray for the nation of Indonesia, that blasphemy laws will be repealed and Christians will be able to live freely.