Indonesia earlier this week threw a Christian outgoing governor in the slammer for “blasphemy.”
Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, also known as Ahok, was convicted earlier this week of the “crime” of saying the Koran allows non-Muslims to rule over Muslims.
The comment was followed by months of protests by radicals — some demonstrations saw hundreds of thousands of people — calling for Ahok to be punished.
Experts said Ahok committed no crime, and that his conviction amounted to the government caving to the demands of radical Islamist riff-raff.
Many Indonesians are wondering whether this is just the beginning, and whether radical Islamists will grow even more powerful, at a time when radical Islamist ideology is spreading throughout Southeast Asia.
Across the ocean in the United States, moderate Muslims are concerned.
Zuhdi Jasser, an American Mulism reformist and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, told Borderless News Online that Indonesia is plagued by the worsening threat of radical Islam.
“Indonesia has long been one of the most hopeful Muslim majority nations and democracies for planting the seeds of liberal reforms against global Islamism…(But)like most Muslim populations it is besieged by the growing threat of popular Islamist movements,” said Jasser, who is also the co-founder of the Muslim Reform Movement. He added that countries awash in oil money, like Saudi Arabia, have also played a role by financing such movements.
“We are beyond disappointed if not despondent at the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) to see the ruling party and judiciary cave in to the Islamists on so many fronts in Indonesia,” he said, noting free speech and blasphemy laws are two main issues under which the courts buckled to Islamist pressure.