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Jakarta Post

Religious Affairs Ministry deems another anti-Ahok rally ‘unnecessary’

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, November 24, 2016   /  11:23 am
Religious Affairs Ministry deems another anti-Ahok rally ‘unnecessary’ Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saefuddin (right), accompanied by Indonesian Ulema Council chairman Maruf Amin, speaks to the media on July 4. Lukman has said another rally against Ahok, reportedly slated for Dec. 2, is unnecessary. (Antara Foto/Hafidz Mubarak A)

Another rally against Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, reportedly slated for Dec. 2, would be unnecessary and could be misused by certain parties wishing to take advantage of the situation, a minister has said.

Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saefuddin said the ongoing legal process against Ahok, who has been accused of blasphemy, had proven the presence of justice.

"What is the purpose of the rally? If it's related to the ongoing legal case, the Indonesian Ulema Council [MUI] and other Muslim organizations have shown their appreciation for the efforts made by the police," he said at his office on Wednesday.

He added that although people’s freedom to express themselves was constitutionally guaranteed, the presence of mass groups could be taken advantage of by certain parties.

"An individual’s identity might get lost when gathering with a crowd of people and what drives them next is the psychology of the mass. It has the potential to be driven by free riders," he said.

Ahok, a Christian of Chinese descent, was named a suspect last week over an alleged blasphemous remark he made when citing a verse from the Quran in September. The remark sparked uproar among many Muslims, although the governor has repeatedly apologized, saying he did not mean to insult any religion. (fac/dmr)

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