The technique has spread. We don’t have a monopoly on Fake News.
In the race for mayor in Jakarta, a video was altered, went viral, and the leading candidate, a Christian, is on trial for blasphemy.
And we think we have problems.
In Jakarta, a Key Test of Tolerance Looms for the Muslim World
The leading candidate for governor of Indonesia’s capital is Christian, and he’s being tried for blasphemy.
From National Review: By PAUL MARSHALL, March 2, 2017
The election of Jakarta’s governor usually draws zero attention outside Indonesia. But the current race to lead the capital of the world’s largest Muslim-majority country has drawn the attention of American, British, Japanese, Russian, Chinese, and German broadcasters, not to mention the world’s most prominent daily newspapers.
The campaign itself is lively enough, involving the families of four former presidents, demonstrations by half a million people, smears about religion and ethnicity, and police investigations into the possibility that a prominent Islamist used WhatsApp to send pornography to a woman suspected of treason. On top of all this, the leading candidate is currently on trial for blasphemy, shuttling daily between the courtroom and the campaign trail. The recent U.S. presidential election looks sedate by comparison.
Beyond all the drama, though, Jakarta’s vote will be a key indicator of larger trends in the Muslim world — whether charges of blasphemy will continue to threaten and silence minorities and reformers, and whether radical forms of Islam will undermine and replace their key Muslim opponent: the Islam of Indonesia.
The current front-runner in the election is Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, universally known as “Ahok.” He is aggressive and outspoken, which is a great handicap in a society that praises politeness and harmony. He is also a double minority — ethnic Chinese in a country where anti-Chinese sentiment remains strong, and Christian in a country that is 85 percent Muslim. But he has a deserved reputation for being honest, intensely practical, and competent, which are attractive qualities to the residents of the sprawling, congested, and frequently flooded metropolis.
These latter virtues made Ahok the clear leader in the race’s earliest months. But in a campaign speech on September 27, 2016, he referred to a Koranic verse — al-Maidah 51, warning Muslims against taking Jews or Christians as allies — that he said was being used by some Islamists to assert that Muslims were forbidden to vote for a Christian.
Several days later, a misleadingly edited video of the talk, omitting some of Ahok’s key words, was posted on the Internet and rapidly went viral. The semi-official Indonesian Ulema Council then issued a fatwa saying that he had blasphemed. The Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), a radical group hitherto noted mainly for attacking liquor stores, restaurants open during Ramadan, nightclubs, churches, and Muslim minorities, teamed up with the newly formed “National Movement to Safeguard the Indonesian Ulema Council’s Fatwa” (GNPF-MUI) and called for demonstrations demanding that Ahok be put on trial.