(Jakarta vote) Civil servant insists non-Muslims must not lead Muslims

World | 15 Feb 2017 1:59 pm

Hadiyul Umam, 40, a civil servant, said voting for incumbent Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok'' Tjahaja Purnama, a minority Christian and ethnic Chinese, would go against everything he believes in. 

"As a Muslim, I believe that non-Muslims are not allowed to lead Muslims in this country, and personally, I do not like the way Ahok leads, which is not pro-poor people and his words were disrespectful and rude,'' he said. 

Ahok's blasphemy trial and the ease with which hard-liners attracted several hundred thousand to protest against him in Jakarta have undermined Indonesia's reputation for practicing a moderate form of Islam and shaken the centrist government of President Joko "Jokowi'' Widodo. 

Calls for Ahok to be killed and anti-Chinese sentiment were disturbing elements of the protests, one of which turned violent, with dozens injured and one person dying from the effects of tear gas. 

Defeat for Ahok would also be a defeat for Indonesia's moderate political and religious leaders and further embolden hard-liners, who say a non-Muslim should not lead Muslims. The governorship is also seen as a launching pad into national politics and possibly the presidency. 

Jokowi voted in a neighborhood of central Jakarta and called for unity.

"Differences of political choice should not to divide us,'' he said. "After this election, we want everything to be back as brothers, we all need to maintain our unity and integrity.'' -AP


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