In separate raids last week, the Jakarta Public Order Agency and local volunteers removed hundreds of banners that conveyed discriminatory messages. (B1 Photo/Deti Mega Purnamasari)

Police Investigate Mosques, Pursue Authors of Provocative Banners


MARCH 15, 2017

Jakarta. The National Police are investigating several mosques in Jakarta known to have distributed discriminatory banners against incumbent Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama ahead of the second round of the capital's gubernatorial election on April 19.

More than 500 banners were recently removed from Jakarta's streets, including one that read, "Muslims who vote for an infidel leader or blasphemer do not deserve a funeral prayer at mosque."

"We're looking into the situation. It's clear that the banners were a provocation and might even be considered hate speech," National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar said in Jakarta on Tuesday (14/03).

Boy added that if users distribute images of the implicated banners on social media, they could be charged with violating the Law on Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE).

"We are looking into mosques located near the banner hot spots — the highest concentration of banners. We are also trying to determine the identities of those who spread the discriminatory images on social media," Boy said.

Tensions have reached a fever pitch in the capital over religious and ethnic sentiments surrounding the Jakarta election, with Muslim hardliners demanding the arrest of incumbent Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama and threatening Muslim residents who decide to vote for him.