An Indonesian court will decide next week whether to push forward with the controversial blasphemy trial of Jakarta’s Christian governor, who is accused of insulting the Koran.
Whilst waiting for the judge’s decision, several hundred Muslim protesters stood outside the court in Jakarta, calling for the jailing of Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, an ethnic Chinese politician, known as Ahok.
Meanwhile, a group of his supporters unveiled a banner with a map of Indonesia and called for unity, saying “Ahok is a blessing”.
A prosecution lawyer said the charges against the governor were legal and the trial should continue, dismissing a claim by the defence that naming Ahok a suspect had violated his human rights and breached procedures.
In an emotional court appearance a week ago, a tearful Ahok denied he had intended to insult the Koran when he was campaigning ahead of elections for Jakarta’s governor, due to be held in February next year.
At the time, he criticised rival politicians for citing the Koran to argue that Muslims should not vote for non-Muslims.
The trial has raised concern over the treatment of minorities in the predominantly Muslim country, which also has sizeable Christian, Hindu and Buddhist communities, and dozens of groups that adhere to traditional beliefs.
The judge said on Tuesday that another hearing would be held on December 27th, to decide whether to proceed with Ahok’s trial. This is a normal procedure in Indonesia, and is supposed to ensure that the prosecution has met the requirements for an indictment under the criminal code.
Ahok was named a suspect after hundreds of thousands of people, led by Muslim hardliners, attended rallies over the past six weeks calling for his arrest.
- Pray for the peace and comfort of the Holy Spirit to surround Governor Purnama (Ahok) and his family at this time of uncertainty.
- Pray for those involved in the case against Ahok, for wisdom and integrity on behalf of the judge, and for truth and justice to prevail.
- Pray for Ahok to be released without charges.
- Pray for peace on the streets of Jakarta over the next weeks as the trial is held, and for protection for Christians across this nation.
Proverbs 21 vs 3: “To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.”