Jakarta, thousands of Islamic fundamentalists take to streets against Christian governor

Protest organized by the Islamic Defenders Front: "The Koran calls for all the country's leaders to be Muslims." Basuki Tjahaja Purnama,known as "Ahok" is accused of blasphemy for having quoted the sacred text during a rally. Moderate Muslims distance themselves: "We do not agree with this initiative. The governor apologized. "

Jakarta (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Thousands of radical Islamists took to the streets of Jakarta to protest against the governor of the city, accused of being blasphemous. Basuki Tjahaja Purnama known as "Ahok", an ethnic Chinese Christian, provoked fierce controversy  for a sentence spoken on 9 October, in which he quoted the 51st Surah of the fifth chapter of the Koran (Al Maidah). Accused of being a  "slanderer of Islam", the politician immediately apologized, but that has not appeased the wrath of Muslim fundamentalist fringe.

Dressed in white, the protesters belonging to different radical groups marched shouting anti-Ahok slogans. The protest took place peacefully. On the sidelines of the event Muhammad al Khaththath, secretary general of the Islamic Society Forum, said that all the country's leaders should be Muslims, "because that's what the Koran calls for."

The protest was organized by the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), a radical group, intolerant of minorities. The Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) - Most moderate Muslim movement in the country, with 40 million members – has distanced itself from the initiative, deemed contrary to religious teachings. Ahmad Ishomuddin, NU leader, said: "This could be dangerous." Ahok, he added, "made a slip of the tongue, but he immediately apologized."

Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama has been the subject of several weeks of protests by Islamic fundamentalists, who want him to renounce his candidacy for election as Governor of Jakarta planned for 2017.

He is one of the few Indonesian political leaders to fight for freedom of conscience. Last June he opposed to the obligation imposed on Jakarta students to wear the Islamic veil. InJuly 2015 the governor promoted a fight for civil rights of the Ahmadi minority, considered heretical by the majority Sunni Muslims.