Jakarta. Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama has apologized to Muslims for quoting a verse from the Holy Quran during a speech in Kepulauan Seribu, off the north coast of Jakarta, last week.
A heavily edited version of the video – which was originally recorded by the Jakarta city administration – had gone viral on social media and led to accusations that Ahok had insulted Islam.
In the video, the governor said that no one should manipulate verses from the Holy Quran for political gains. Yet, Ahok's own speech had angered some clerics and Muslim leaders who accused Ahok of insulting Islam and its holy book by quoting a verse from it.
"To Muslims who felt insulted, I apologize. I had no intention to insult Islam," Ahok said at City Hall in Jakarta on Monday morning (10/10), state-run Antara news agency reported.
Ahok claimed the residents of Kepulauan Seribu had welcomed his remarks and none of them had any objection to what he said.
"I understand that some people are upset. Religion is a very personal matter and should not be mixed up with public discourse," Ahok said.
The governor added he has deep respect for Muslims in Jakarta and has always done his best to support them, including by providing funding for Islamic boarding schools and mosques. "I am not anti-Islam," he said.
Previously, Golkar politician Nusron Wahid said he had seen the full video footage of the speech, and claimed there was not a single line where the governor had insulted Islam.
The former chairman of the biggest Islamic youth organization, GP Ansor, questioned why the video was uploaded online a week after Ahok delivered the speech in Kepulauan Seribu. If Ahok had indeed insulted Islam during the event, there would have been instant public reaction, Nusron said.
"The press was there. The news would've been all over the media if Ahok had really made a blunder. But this video came up a week after it happened. This is a hoax," Nusron said on Friday.