Thousands of Muslims rally against Jakarta governor-Indonesian police use tear gas

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SHAFAQNA- Tens of thousands of hardline Muslim protesters rallying against a non-Muslim governor they accuse of blasphemy marched in Jakarta.

The protesters marched toward the presidential palace and the office of Governor Basuki Tjahja Purnama on Friday.

They chanted “God is greatest” and waved placards with messages calling for the governor to be imprisoned for “blasphemy.”

At least 20,000 riot police and soldiers, some equipped with rifles and water cannons, were deployed to the capital amid the massive protest.

The Associated Press cited police sources as saying that one elderly man died and several other people, including security forces, were injured during clashes between the police and demonstrators.

Purnama, a Christian and the first ethnic Chinese in the job and an ally of President Joko Widodo, is under fire for dismissing a political attack by his opponents — who urged Muslims not to vote for him in city governor elections in February — by citing a verse from the holy Quran.

“He is not Muslim but he humiliated the Quran,” said protester Muhammad Said.

Police have opened a case against Purnama, who has apologized for his remarks but at the same time dismissed the allegations of “blasphemy” and said his words were taken out of context.

A video was published on the social media, showing the governor mentioning verses from the holy Quran in September.

Indonesia is the largest Muslim-populated country in the world.

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