Jakarta governor candidate Anies Baswedan, right, campaigning at a mosque in Jakarta on Sunday (02/04). (Antara Photo/Rivan Awal Lingga)

Ahok's Campaign Team Demands Crackdown on Campaigning in Houses of Worship


APRIL 05, 2017

Jakarta. Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama's campaign team has urged the Jakarta Election Commission to crack down on campaigning in houses of worship which often manipulates religion as a "political tool," the team's spokesman said on Wednesday (05/04).

The team was reacting to a video that went viral on Indonesia's social media showing a political consultant for rival gubernatorial candidate Anies Baswedan and his running mate Sandiaga Uno admitting that the former education minister's campaign team has been going to mosques in Jakarta to deliver their political agenda and gain support from voters.

Ansy Lema, a spokesman for the Ahok-Djarot campaign team, said campaigning in houses of worship can create unnecessary religious tension between Indonesians of different faiths.

"The fact is, the law says that houses of worship are not supposed to be used for political campaigning," Ansy said.

He said Anies' campaign team has been using the divisive strategy since they've been getting beaten comprehensively at every public debate. "Using religion as a 'tool' for campaigning shows they're not very confident they can win the election on the back of their programs," Ansy said.

"Debate on the candidates' programs is much more important than debating about their race or religion," he added.

Ahok's team said their own campaign has been relying on a platform of political education and literacy.

"Exploiting religion has never been our strategy," Ansy said.