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Indonesia: Christian governor's blasphemy trial begins

13 December 2016

Indonesia's only Christian governor, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (better known as 'Ahok'), fought back tears during the first day of his blasphemy trial today.

The governor of the Indonesian capital city, Jakarta, of Chinese descent, is alleged to have 'misused' a verse from the Quran (which, some say, suggests Muslims should not be ruled by non-Muslims) during a speech in early October.

Some Muslim leaders accused him of insulting Islam by quoting from the Quran. He apologised, but said his comments were directed at politicians 'incorrectly' using the verse against him and not a criticism of the verse itself.

The trial is widely seen as a test of the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation's stance on religious freedom, since the country has a large Christian minority.

It was broadcast live on TV and Ahok continued to protest his innocence, telling the court: "I had no intention of insulting Muslims or insulting the clergy. On that basis, I plead with the judges to consider my exception plea."

Source: World Watch Monitor

Please pray:

  • For God's protection and comfort for Ahok and his wife and children
  • For the trial against Ahok to be just and fair
  • For the widening rift between Christians and Muslims in the society, as many are taking opposing sides around this issue. Pray that Christians will continue to love their neighbours and be effective witnesses of Christ.

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Find out more about persecution in Indonesia.