Jakarta. Ahmad Ishomuddin, the deputy chairman of the edict commission at the Indonesian Ulema Council, or MUI, said during his testimony in court on Tuesday (04/04) that Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama was not guilty of blasphemy.
According to the cleric, Ahok never intended to insult the Koran or Islam when he referred to a verse in the Muslim holy book during a speech on Pramuka Island last year.
Ishomuddin pointed out that the governor made the comment as an aside while he was explaining a fish breeding program in the area.
"Ahok has no intention to insult Islam, the ulemas or their followers. He's a smart person and respects pluralism," he added.
MUI rushed into conclusion
Though Ishomuddin is a senior figure at MUI, he admitted that the institution might have rushed into conclusion when it issued an edict that accuses the governor of insulting Islam.
"[The edict] was issued in a rush. We did not watch the entire 1 hour and 48 minutes of video footage. We made our judgment after seeing the edited version," he said.
"In the full video, Ahok never mentioned the word 'ulema.' He said 'people' [who misuse the Koranic verse]," the cleric added.
Following his testimony at Ahok's trial, rumors swirled that MUI may expel Ishomuddin from the ulema council.
MUI Chairman Ma’ruf Amin said Ishomuddin is only going to be demoted to a regular member.