The 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial election campaign lacks effective discussion of new ideas and policies by the three candidate pairs, a pundit said. (Antara Photo/Sahrul Manda Tikupadang)

Muslim Intellectual Calls for Reconciliation in Ahok Blasphemy Case

BY :ALIN ALMANAR

NOVEMBER 15, 2016

Jakarta. A young intellectual from Indonesia's largest Muslim group has called for reconciliation to resolve the blasphemy case against Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, which has seen many in the Muslim community become restive.

The call comes amid a police investigation into the case, in which Ahok is accused of blasphemy over recent remarks about a Koranic verse.

The case has led thousands of Muslims to demand the immediate prosecution of Ahok, who is a Christian of Chinese ethnicity, even though he has repeatedly and publicly apologized to Muslims for his comments.

Zuhairi Misrawi, of the Nahdlatul Ulama, said based on the Koran, reconciliation between conflicting parties is the best solution.

"Now is the time for us to end all the disputes. Islah is the best solution for all elements of the nation. The Koran staunchly encourages for it," he said in a statement on Tuesday (15/11), referring to the Arabic term for reconciliation.

His call comes a month after the country's highest Islamic clerical body, the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), issued a statement saying that Ahok had insulted the Koran, ulemas and Muslims, which is opposed by Zuhairi.

"There is no element of blasphemy at all in the case. What Ahok did was warn [the public] against twisting Koranic verses for political interests," he said.

The preliminary investigation into the case is now underway with an exposé, which is aimed at determining if Ahok's remarks constituted a criminal offense.

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