Rhoma Irama: (Tribunnews.com/Herudin)
Celebrated dangdut singer Rhoma Irama reaffirmed his stance after being questioned by the Jakarta Election Supervisory Committee (Panwaslu) on Monday, regarding allegations that he made slurs against the religious beliefs of vice gubernatorial candidate Basuki Tjahaja “Ahok” Purnama.
“At that time I quoted a verse that faithful people were prohibited from choosing an infidel as a leader,” he sobbed, during a press conference at Panwaslu headquarters, as quoted by kompas.com.
Rhoma delivered an allegedly derogatory and politically charged sermon on Sunday evening before a tarawih prayer congregation (Ramadhan evening prayer) at Al Isra Mosque in Tanjung Duren, West Jakarta, while incumbent Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo, also a gubernatorial candidate, was in attendance.
Rhoma reportedly called on the congregation to vote for candidates based on their religion, a statement which seemed to be directed at the running mate of Joko “Jokowi” Widodo: Ahok is a Christian of Chinese descent.
“I feel that I don’t need to apologize to Jokowi – Ahok given that I did nothing wrong. Secondly, we don’t require islah (reconciliation) since we are not in dispute,” he said, as quoted by tempo.co.
Rhoma, the self-proclaimed “King of Dangdut”, denied allegations that his sermon was a form of negative campaigning involving so-called SARA topics (ethnic, racial, religious and intergroup differences).
“What does SARA mean? Reading from the holy book in a place of worship?”
Rhoma could be charged under the 2004 Regional Administration Law, which bans campaigning outside determined schedules, campaigning based on ethnic, racial, religious and intergroup differences and campaigning in places of worship. (yps)