Protests in Indonesia reveal the clash between politics and religion

World - Mohit Shah - Dec 07,2016

Rating -

stars - based on 21 reviews

protests in indonesia reveal the clash between politics and religion

Heavy protests are active due to the ideology of a Christian politician in the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation; a vast situation of national unrest is experienced in Indonesia.

Indonesian Muslims have taken to the streets with a stern demand to accelerate the pace of the legal proceedings against Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, Christian politician and Jakarta’s Governor.

Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, known as Ahok, has been accused of disrespecting Islam. In his speech on 27th September, he mentioned a Koranic verse which states that Muslims should not take Jews or Christians as colleagues or leaders.

This statement outraged the wide Muslim population in Indonesia as thousands marched in the capital city on October 14, in support for strict legal actions against the politician. On November 4, surging rallies led to the gathering of 50,000 demonstrations which resulted in brutal clashes with the police injuring more than 100 people, while one person died in this event.

On December 2, the riots grew fierce as close to 200,000 protestors revolted for Ahok's dismissal from office.

Ahok, who is running for retaining his post in the gubernatorial elections in February, said Indonesians shouldn’t be conned by the people who are willing to influence the upcoming elections. The politician has been investigated by the police despite sending his apology to the nation.

Prominent Muslim Organizations such as Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah are not supporting the anti-Ahok rallies; they have even urged the public to remain harmonious. However, adamant groups like the Islamic Defenders Front (FDI), who are the organizers of the protests in Indonesia against Ahok, are raging in different parts. This group wishes for a formal adoption of the sharia law and follows a certain perception of Sunni Islam under which non-Muslims are tagged as infidels.

Politics or religious politics, this turmoil has surely brought Indonesia into a state of dilemma. According to Dina Afrianty, a research fellow at Australian Catholic University, the role of Islam in a so-called secular state in addition to the growing powers of radical entities such as the FDI, are the prime themes of the nationwide anger against Ahok.