Jakarta. An Iranian ulema who lives in Australia has caused a storm on Indonesian social media with his staunch defense of Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, currently standing trial on blasphemy charges.
In a series of tweets, Shaikh M. Tawhidi, challenged Ahok’s detractors, including hardline Islamic Defenders Front, or FPI, to a debate on the interpretation of Al Maidah 51, a verse from the Koran quoted by Ahok in his now infamous speech that triggered the blasphemy allegations.
Tahwidi called on President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to allow him to testify in court in Ahok’s defense. Tahwidi, who calls himself an "Imam of Peace," claims he knows Ahok in person and believes that the governor is a man of God.— Shaikh M. Tawhidi (@Imamofpeace) February 15, 2017
I personally know Gov. Ahok and i can safely say he is more of a man of God than any Muslim opposition rioting outside his office. https://t.co/eD6EVJOs1P
— Shaikh M. Tawhidi (@Imamofpeace) February 15, 2017
The governor is now back in his job while waiting for the second round of the Jakarta gubernatorial election on April 19, where he will face former education minister Anies Baswedan.