Indonesia has often been touted as the shining example of tolerant Islam (otherwise also known as the Religion Of Peace - ROP).
Which is why I was extremely surprised to hear that the popular Governor of Jakarta, affectionately known as Ahok, is now being prosecuted for blasphemy.
Calls for his arrest have apparently led to violent demonstrations, causing at least one death according to TODAY. But let us postpone judgment and try to understand what exactly had caused hundreds of thousands of peace loving Muslims to feel so aggrieved.
Allegedly, Ahok had advised his supporters not to be misled by opposing politicians who cited the Quran as basis for not electing him. I know. Outrageous. To put this matter into perspective, one should know that Ahok is a Christian. And the specific Quran verse in question is Surat al-Maʼida (fifth chapter), verse 51, which I reproduce below:
You who believe! Do not take the Jews and Christians as allies. They are allies of each other. Whoever of you takes them as allies is already one of them. Surely Allah does not guide the people who are evildoers. (5:51)One might be inclined to conclude that such passages are self-evidently intolerant. The passage might give the impression that Jews and Christians are Sithlords and one should be very cautious about making friends lest one succumbs to the dark side. I can assure you, that is not what the ROP is about. There is clearly some context we are missing here. Obviously, there are situations whereby such instruction could be a valid and even, gasp, a moral one. You just don't know it yet. I strongly suggest you clarify with a fellow believer.
The ROP is not to be blamed for the actions of a few. By "a few", I meant to say that a mere 200,000 people found it worth their time to throng the streets, paint banners and shout slogans, baying for the blood of a
Sigh, not sure why non-believers cannot be more tolerant of the ROP.