Indonesia (MNN) — The recently-inaugurated Chinese Christian governor of Indonesia’s capital city, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, is finding new allies in Jakarta’s influential Muslim leaders.
Mr. Purnama, who goes by “Ahok,” reflects an “acceptance of diversity” agenda being put forth by the newly-elected President and former gubernatorial running mate, Joko Widodo.
“He’s referred to as a double-minority because he’s ethnic Chinese, which is a minority in Indonesia, and he’s also Christian,” notes a ministry friend with work in Indonesia (who has asked not to be named).
“Given the fact that Indonesia has a very large Muslim population, there are some leaders that have been very vocal [about], ‘This is not the kind of leader that we need for Jakarta.'”
Ahok met a great deal of opposition from Islamic hard-liners when he was announced as the city’s leader last month. Earlier this month, a spokesman for one fundamentalist group claimed, “We reject Ahok’s leadership. He does not represent Jakarta’s residents.
“We will elect a new governor who cares about Islam and its citizens, not Ahok.”
Leaders of large Muslim groups in Jakarta are now slamming the hard-liners’ efforts to stir up public unrest against the governor.
“The majority of Jakartans and Indonesians are accepting of the values of democracy,” says one Islamic leader.
“We want to continue to promote pluralism and to limit any violent actions like this. [The Islamic Defenders Front], so far, is only spreading hatred among religious followers and races.”
Christians in Jakarta are surrounding Ahok in prayer. Will you join them?
Pray for continued public support of Ahok. Ask the Lord to thwart attempts by Muslim hard-liners to remove him from a position of influence. Pray for strength and discernment for Ahok so he can continue representing Christ to unbelievers in Jakarta.
“There is a great hope that with the new president, and this new governor, there will be increased dialogue and respect for Christians,” notes the fore-mentioned believer.