The Day Democracy Died In Indonesia

Today is a dark day for Indonesia. Their first Chinese Christian governor of Jakarta, affectionately named ‘Ahok’, was sentenced to two years imprisonment for the shambolic crime of blasphemy. It was such a clear set up that the reaction from the social media was one of utter anguist and bemusement.

Basuki Tjahaja Purnama or Ahok, was made governor of Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia in 2014. It was a celebrated appointment. He was only the second Christian to be honoured with the post and the first Christian of Chinese extraction. Social media, I remember vividly, celebrated his honour as much as it celebrated the appointment of Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London two years later. It was a victory for democracy.

Of course, the appointment of a non-Muslim did not go down well with Indonesia’s Islamofascists. They worked day and night to depose him. And in keeping with Islamofascist tradition, they would misuse the Quran to convince Muslims of their warped ideas. Strange, considering they are the same people who would tell you that you need dozens of different ‘sciences’ in order to understand a single verse. No, it is rather really all about privilege. They are privileged to use the Quran (or so they think) while the rest of us are not.

In this case, it was Chapter 5 Verse 51 which they claim means that we cannot have a protector (hence a leader) who are Jews and Christians to the exclusion of believers. What the Islamofascists will ‘forget’ to tell you is that 5/51 operates under specific conditions. It speaks of the messengers system and those personalities are those who oppose him. Furthermore, the Quran does not limit believers to Muslims. It rather gives a universal criteria into which Christians and Jews can fit (2/62 and 5/69).

Pic courtesy of Hla Oo's blog
Pic courtesy of Hla Oo’s blog

Even more ironically, was Ahok did not actually commit blasphemy. What he did was to repudiate the reading of the Islamofascists. In no way did he insult the Quran at all. This accusation which abetted by an edited video was simply a ruse to depose and ultimately criminalize him. Very sadly indeed, it worked. The tide had turned and Ahok’s support diminished. Although he secured enough support to run for mayor a second time, he eventually lost the election itself. To add insult to injury, he was tried and convicted for blasphemy.

Malaysia is my own country of origin which is becoming more and more Islamically conservative in recent decades. As such, I had looked up to Indonesia for its sense of democracy which did not (past tense!) discriminate a person due to his faith. How things have changed! Is it because Islamofascists have a global network of hate? Who knows! Ironically, today Indonesia banned Hizb ut Tahrir, a global organization which calls for the re-establishment of the Islamic state so perhaps all is not lost yet. However, what happened to Ahok is nothing short of a disgrace to the Muslim world. Justice is a certral pillar of the Quran and today we have failed it.

 

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