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Jakarta Post

Religious defamation won’t affect Ahok’s electability: Analyst

  • Callistasia Anggun Wijaya
    Callistasia Anggun Wijaya

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, October 12, 2016   /  12:21 pm
Religious defamation won’t affect Ahok’s electability: Analyst Megawati Soekarnoputri (left) chairwoman of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) is helped by Jakarta Deputy Governor Djarot Saiful Hidayat as they put a red jacket on Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama during their registration at the Jakarta Election Commission on Sept. 20. Ahok and Djarot are running mates on the party’s ticket in the elections to seek a second term in office. (JP/Dhoni Setiawan)

The religious defamation issue will not affect Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama’s electability in the gubernatorial election, a political analyst has said.

The religious issue which arose after Ahok talked about a Quran verse will only ignite religious sentiments among radical groups, but it will not affect the moderate Muslims, said Sirojudin Abbas program director of Saiful Mujani Research and Consulting (SMRC) on Wednesday in Jakarta.

“The number of radical Muslims in Jakarta is not significant, only 12 to 15 percent of voters. Although the issue has developed in the public sphere, I don’t think this will make voters change their minds in supporting [Ahok],” Sirojudin said on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, an Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) official announced that Ahok had committed blasphemy when the governor said people are being deceived [by using] Surah al-Maidah: 51 of the Quran during his visit to Thousand Islands.

However, Sirojudin believes that MUI's statement was not an issue for Ahok’s candidacy.

“MUI is not the single authority in interpreting religious teaching. Even if MUI issues fatwa, it won’t sway Muslim voters because it is only MUI's opinion,” he said.

He added Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) has interpreted Ahok’s statement differently. NU said that Ahok did not commit blasphemy with his statement.  (bbn)

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