By: Mirza Syauqi Futaqi

The majority of Jakarta citizens are Muslims. According to data from, the number of Jakarta citizens who are Muslim reaches 8.34 million people or 83 percent of the total population, which are 10 million people. It certainly affects their tendency to choose governor candidates, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama or Anis Baswedan, because every religion will certainly govern its people to choose leaders who have the same religion or belief. However, it should be noted that the call to choose a leader who has the same religion or faith is a private space so that it should not be displayed in the public space because Indonesian citizens embrace the concept of Unity in Diversity, the official national motto of Indonesia.  Therefore, every Indonesian citizen has the equal fraternal nature even though he or she comes from a different ethnic or religion.

However, it seems that politicians see that many Jakarta citizens are Muslims as an opportunity to gain public sympathy. Therefore, in the Jakarta gubernatorial election 2017 various racial and religious issues arose. For example, there was a call to reject non-Muslim leaders so that the gubernatorial election, which was originally a political activity, seemed to be a fight for religion and faith. According to Zainal Abidin Bagir from, Jakarta gubernatorial election 2017 was different from several previous elections which almost always showed the low religious issues. That was why some media, especially English  media, quickly drew broad conclusions that not only emphasize the religious factors in the elections (for example “Christian governor ousted” or “Muslim candidate elected”), but further conclude that “Indonesia is increasingly conservative turn”, even the victory of Anies-Sandi is “the victory of prejudice over pluralism”.

The Politicization of Religion will have significant implications for the Jakarta citizens. Because of the emergence of religious sensitivity, the conflict between supporters of Ahok and supporters of Anis will certainly occur. Moreover, this election is not only considered political activity but also a religious struggle. Therefore, this article will discuss the impact of Politicizing Religion in the Jakarta gubernatorial election on Jakarta citizens’ intolerance.

Politicization of Religion and Intolerance

Politicization of religion in Jakarta gubernatorial election 2017 had significant implications toward Jakarta Citizens’ intolerance. It happened because of the overlapping understanding of religion and politics. Politicians try to strengthen their political interests under the pretext of religion. In other words, religion became a political tool and not purely a religious interest

In every religion, there are teachings that prohibit adherents from choosing leaders who have the different religion. Al Qur’an explicitly forbids believers or Muslims to choose leaders of different religions. It orders them to choose an Islamic leader. Ibn Kathir interpreted the word (auliya) as leaders so Ibn Kathir explicitly forbade Muslims to choose non-Muslim leaders. The interpretation of Ibn Kathir was an attempt to concretize meaning (auliya) to a certain meaning because before it was interpreted by Ibn Kathir, the word (auliya) was still unclear whether it meant a leader, lover, or friend. When Al-Jassas was interpreting verse 28 of Surah Ali ‘Imran, he argued that this verse was the basis for the prohibition of choosing non-Muslim leaders. He also argued that they did not have the right to be leaders for Muslim (wilayah), and Ahlu Dzimmah should not hold positions in the management of property and power.

In every religion, there are teachings that require its adherents to choose leaders who have the same religion and the teaching that claims its adherents who don’t choose them and choose others as infidels. Based on previous information, the teaching to choose Muslim leaders is part of Islamic teachings. According to Abdur Razzaq, people who deliberately deny the law of Allah, in this context is the person who chooses a non-Muslim leader, then they become an infidel. This is based on his interpretation of Al Maidah verse 44. He interpreted the word ulaika as Muslims so that Muslims were obliged to apply the law of God.

Those who (ulaika) do not rule according to what God revealed are the unbelievers/infidels.

Politicians use these teachings to attract public sympathy. The DKI regional election has become a scaling-up effort for groups such as FPI, FUI, HTI, and GNPF-MUI. It is an effort to make their agendas accepted by more Muslims so that, hopefully, they can be institutionalized. In the DKI Election, the way is to double the dose of religious arguments and sentiments during the campaign period, far beyond the other regional elections, to a level we have never seen. It was those who campaigned to elect Muslim governors a year ago, organizing a phenomenal series of demonstrations to safeguard the purity of Islam from Ahok’s “blasphemy,” leading the anti-Ahok-themed prayer and prayer movements as “infidel leaders”, then entering mosques in many areas in Jakarta until, at its peak, there was an Islamic movement which did not pray for Ahok supporters because they were “hypocritical” Muslims.

Attracting public sympathy by religious teachings is extremely effective but it has negative implications for social relations in society especially among religious communities. The negative implication is the emergence of an intolerant attitude between a Muslim and another Muslim who chooses Ahok. There was a very regrettable case. The 78-year-old grandmother’s body was abandoned by the community. The reason was the fact that the grandmother who had not been able to walk for a long time chose Basuki Tjahaja Purnama aka Ahok and Djarot Saiful Hidayat during the first round of DKI elections. According to Neneng, after the grandmother Hindun bin Raisman voted for Ahok-Djarot, her family became gossip. Neneng is Hindun’s youngest daughter. Neneng said, at that time she and his family wanted Hindun’s body to be prayed at the mosque. However, Ustadz Ahmad Syafii rejected the proposal because there were no people in the mosque. In addition, no one carried Hindun’s body to the mosque. So that Ustadz Ahmad Syafii prayed Hindun’s body in her house. It happened because Neneng’s family was considered infidels because they supported a blasphemy.

Since the case of alleged blasphemy by the Former Governor of DKI Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, emerged, there were many acts of persecution occurring in October, namely 11 events related to the prohibition of worship for ethnic minorities, the prohibition of worship places, and the destruction of worship places dominated by intolerant mass organizations. After the first round of the Pilkada, there were significant increases in March, namely 10 events related to sweeping, arrest, intimidation and dissolution of groups considered as heretical. The trend of persecution began to change after the arrest of Governor of DKI Jakarta Basuki Tjahaja Purnama. In the beginning of October to April, the cases of persecution were carried out directly, but in May to June, the trend run into a change, namely persecution through social media such as criticism of certain figures that was executed directly by mass organizations on behalf of Islam.

The Number of Persecution and Its Patterns

The basic motives of persecution are mostly religious and political. KontraS recorded 46 events with religious motives and 16 events with political motives. The religious motives are very massive to be used by certain individuals and mass organizations in carrying out persecutions such as the prohibition of certain minority worship, Shia, Ahmadiyya, and other schools. It led to intimidation, sealing places of worship, and banning religious activities.

Most perpetrators of persecution are mass organizations and civilians who conduct sweeping of individuals or groups that have certain beliefs, but not a few police and government officials commit persecution toward civilians. In some cases, the police helped mass organizations and contributed to take action against groups/communities/individuals who had different beliefs or ideologies.

Police 11
Mass Organization 40
Civilian 26
Government 9

The Pattern of Persecution

In this article, the author classifies the pattern of persecution into two patterns. Persecution seen from a physical and mental perspective has two main patterns, physical persecution and mental persecution. Physical persecution is physical unfair or abusive treatment toward a person or group of people. This persecution causes physical and mental injury to the victim. It is direct persecution. Mental persecution is an unfair or abusive treatment that causes only mental injury to the victim. It is indirect persecution.

There are several cases of physical persecution. One of them is the persecution toward a 15-year-old boy named Mario. A group of people who called themselves FPI slapped Mario because Mario uploaded a photo of Habib Rizieq on his Facebook. The photo, according to them, was considered to insult and demean their leader. Therefore, they slapped Mario. This case occurred through several stages. In the first stage, they tracked identity that was on social media. In the first stage, after they find out the person’s identity, they will meet him directly. they will force him to apologize with violence

There are several cases of mental persecution. One of them is the persecution toward Doctor Fiera Lovita. She experienced mental persecution after uploading status on Facebook relating to Rizieq Shihab, leader of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI). According to Liputan6, she has received more than 100 requests for friendship requests. Some other people’s accounts have captured the status in her accounts and shared it into Facebook with provocative and dirty words that invited others to hate and cursing her. Because of this case, she was forced to move house so that he could live safely and in peace

Finally, we can conclude that the politicization of religion and intolerance has a close relationship. It had a significant influence on the intolerance of the Jakarta community. Therefore, the politicization of religion has a negative impact on the Jakarta community and it is certainly dangerous for democracy in Indonesia. Furthermore, the politicization of religion also violates the noble idea of the state, namely Bhineka Tunggal Ika.