The conviction for blasphemy of former Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama was not a surprise, writes Professor Tim Lindsey. What was surprising was that the judges decided to follow the usual pattern in blasphemy cases when the case before them was so very unusual.

In a decision that shocked many, judges last week sentenced former Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama to two years in prison for blasphemy. Dr Stewart Fenwick, who recently completed a book on the Blasphemy Law, writes that the case demonstrates how the law and the courts can be exploited for political and religious purposes.

The recent protests against Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama saw groups like the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI)
come to the fore, while mainstream Muslim organisations Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah saw their influence wane. Ahmad Syarif Syechbubakr writes that NU and Muhammadiyah leaders need to rethink their approach.

Many observers have suggested that the win of Anies Baswedan in the Jakarta gubernatorial election last week has set the stage for the ongoing exploitation of religious and ethnic sentiment in Indonesian politics. According to Dr Dina Afrianty, however, most post-election analyses have failed to consider what the election result means for Indonesian women.

Anies Baswedan will be the next governor of Jakarta, following a bitterly fought campaign against Basuki ‘Ahok’ Tjahaja Purnama. Make no mistake, Professor Tim Lindsey writes, it was the mobilisation of racial and religious hatred achieved by his enemies that led to Ahok’s defeat in this election.

Incumbent Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama and his running mate, Djarot Saiful Hidayat, have stirred controversy with the release of a pro-diversity campaign video that opponents have accused of being ‘anti-Islam’. Dr Helen Pausacker takes a close look at the video that has Ahok’s detractors so annoyed.

The fiercely contested Jakarta gubernatorial election has given rise to a cycle of charges and counter-charges between the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and its opponents. Abdil Mughis Mudhoffir and Rafiqa Qurrata Ayun write that this politicisation of criminal justice is doing serious damage to the rule of law.

Following the massive rallies against Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama over alleged blasphemy, one might assume that religion was the most important factor influencing the intended voting behaviour of Jakarta residents. But a study conducted by Nathanael Gratias Sumaktoyo demonstrates that it is not as dominant as the recent rallies suggest.

How much is the controversy around Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama related to his ethnicity and religion and how much is it about popular politics in Indonesia today? How has Ahok’s own political style played a part? Dr Jemma Purdey discusses these issues and more with Professor Ariel Heryanto in the latest Talking Indonesia podcast.

Apakah signifikansi “Aksi Bela Islam III” secara politik dan agama? Apakah besarnya demonstrasi tersebut adalah bukti lebih lanjut tentang penguatan konservatisme Islam di Indonesia? Associate Professor Greg Fealy menyajikan analisa mendalam tentang demo 2 Desember dan konsekuensinya bagi demokrasi Indonesia.

Police Chief Tito Karnavian has said that about AU$7.65 million was spent on security for the rallies to “defend Islam” on 4 November and 2 December. But as Ihsan Ali-Fauzi writes, these material costs are only part of the picture. Of far greater significance is that the protests have eroded the foundations of democracy and undermined the influence of “moderate” Muslim leaders.

What is the political and religious significance of the massive protest to “defend Islam” in Central Jakarta on 2 December? Does the huge turnout indicate a hardening of mainstream Muslim attitudes in Indonesia? Associate Professor Greg Fealy presents a comprehensive analysis of the events of 2 December and their consequences for Indonesian democracy.