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Jakarta Post

Rising religious tensions in Jakarta fuel radicalism: Analysts

  • Marguerite Afra Sapiie

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, November 3 2016   /  08:19 am

The simmering sectarian tensions in the nation’s capital ahead of the gubernatorial election could be used by extremists to “fan the flames of jihad”, analysts say.

In a test case for Indonesian democracy, a Christian candidate is leading in voter surveys in the race for the top job in the capital, where Muslims account for more than 90 percent of the population.

A number of hard-line Muslims have been rallying against incumbent Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, as they believe Islam prohibits its followers from electing a non-Muslim, a notion that has been rejected by other Muslims.

The religious sentiment against Ahok escalated and spread beyond Jakarta after the governor was accused of blasphemy for suggesting that some people had been “deceived” by others using Al-Maidah 51, a verse in the Quran.

Thousands of members of Islamic organizations ...