Muslims engage in political terrorism to
frighten religious minorities into silence.
(Reuters) - Hundreds of supporters of Jakarta's Christian governor sang patriotic songs outside the Indonesian capital's City Hall on Wednesday to protest his imprisonment for blasphemy after a trial that drew concerns over rising religious intolerance.
Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama is appealing his harsher-than-expected two-year jail sentence after being found guilty of insulting the Koran in the Muslim-majority country.
Purnama, the first ethnic Chinese and Christian leader to be elected as Jakarta's governor, was immediately detained, on the judge's orders, at the end of the trial on Tuesday.
|A Muslim protester displays a banner depicting Christian Jakarta |
Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama behind bars.
While he was held in a police detention facility on Jakarta's outskirts, Purnama's supporters dressed in the national colours of red and white to gather at his office in a show of solidarity at the Dutch colonial-style City Hall.
The emotions unleashed by the case have sent shudders through Indonesia - a secular state that has religious freedom and diversity enshrined in the constitution, though 85 percent of its people are Muslim.
A Hindu spiritual leader from the holiday island of Bali, I Gusti Ngurah Harta, said Purnama's guilty verdict meant minorities could be disadvantaged before the law in the future.
"It means that before the law, minorities will be increasingly oppressed because judges can't do much in the face of the pressures they face," he said.
Purnama, who is an ally of President Joko Widodo, was put on trial late last year over allegations that he had insulted the Koran when he said political rivals were deceiving people by using a verse in from the Islamic holy book to say Muslims should not be led by a non-Muslim.
Islamist groups drew hundreds of thousands of protesters onto the street, calling for him to be sacked and jailed, scuppering his chances at re-election.
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