In Indonesia, a Christian regional governor who had been accused of blasphemy has apparently been defeated in his bid for re-election.
The incumbent governor of Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (popularly known as “Ahok”), a Protestant, angered some Muslims when, in a campaign appearance, he argued that Muslims should not follow a passage of the Qu’ran enjoining them to reject the leadership of non-Muslims. His invocation of the Qu’ran, and his suggestion that it might be ignored, enraged Islamic fundamentalists, and prompted massive public demonstrations against the governor.
In early vote tallies, Ahok was badly trailing a challenge, Anies Baswedan, the country’s former education minister.
The defeat of the Protestant governor could represent a setback for interfaith relations in a country that prides itself on religious tolerance. Ahok also was a target of disdain among many voters because of his Chinese ethnic background; prejudice against the Chinese is prevalent in Indonesia.