The Jakarta Post
The hard-line Islam Defenders Front (FPI) launched threats against minority groups during a rally on Wednesday opposing Deputy Governor Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama, who is to replace current Governor and president-elect Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo.
Hundreds of FPI members marched to the City Council building on Jl. Kebon Sirih, Central Jakarta, located in the same compound as City Hall, causing several hours of traffic gridlock in the area.
The group's opposition is based on Ahok's alleged insensitivity regarding issues of ethnicity, religion and race. Ahok is a Christian of Chinese descent.
While entering the City Council, one FPI member shouted 'If [Ahok] dares to challenge us Betawi people even once, I will not sit still. I'll rid Jakarta of all its ethnic Chinese residents!'
Another member responded with 'Kill Ahok!'
During a meeting between representatives of the FPI and the City Council, FPI Jakarta chapter head Salim Al Athas, popularly known as Habib Selon, called on the City Council not to inaugurate Ahok as governor.
'Ahok does not deserve to lead Jakarta because it is a majority Muslim city. Moreover, he is arrogant. He insulted civil servants who were older than him for failing to perform well. He's the one who should be insulted,' Salim told the forum.
FPI secretary-general Novel Bamu'min later read out the group's stance, which lists 20 'sins' committed by Ahok. The group takes issue with the fact that Ahok, as governor, would automatically head a number of Islamic organizations in Jakarta.
'His religion causes anxiety among Muslims [...] Ahok has used his authority to carry out Christianization through the open-call selection, whereby several Christian leaders were selected to lead Muslim-majority areas,' Novel said.
City Council speaker Prasetio Edi Marsudi of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) said that the Council leaders would discuss the group's complaints.
Ahok played down the protest, saying 'I've had enough of such remarks. Why should I care?'
When asked whether or not he suspected a particular party of backing the protest, he answered, 'Ask the police to investigate who is actually sponsoring them.'
Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Rikwanto told The Jakarta Post that the police would continue to monitor the FPI's activities in case of any violations of the law.
Rikwanto explained that the police would only take action if the FPI committed an obvious violation. Otherwise, the police would have to wait for a report to be filed. (fss)