In Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim nation, the first non-Muslim governor in over 50 years is set to stand trial for blasphemy of the Koran. The incident in question stemmed from Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (a Christian, also popularly known by his Chinese name, “Ahok”) attempting to explain to a group of voters that some Islamic opponents were deceiving voters by improperly interpreting a certain Koranic verse.
The verse is interpreted by some as prohibiting Muslims from living under the leadership of a non-Muslim.
Islamic groups said he had criticised the Koran and lodged complaints with police. Mr Purnama apologised but denied blasphemy.
His supporters say that a video of the event which was widely circulated had been edited and subtitled to make it appear as if he was criticising the verse, rather than those who invoked it.”- BBC
Back in November, when the event took place, the initial blasphemy accusations led to nationwide protests.
Mr Purnama is the city’s first non-Muslim governor in more than 50 years and there are some who fear the trial signals the growing influence of hardliners in the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation.
In November, about 100,000 Islamists took to the streets demanding his arrest in a rally that turned violent.
Police have deployed personnel in large numbers near the court in central Jakarta, where opponents of the governor are holding a rally.”– BBC
For a country that claims supposed religious tolerance, this trial will be followed closely by the international community. Historically a moderate Muslim nation, some are worried the country is becoming more radicalized. In 2012, an atheist was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison for denying the existence of God on his Facebook page.
You can read more about that imprisonment here via the New York Daily News.
Image appears courtesy AFP
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