TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The eight session of blasphemy hearing against defendant Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama on Tuesday saw Ahok accused the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) chairman Ma’ruf Amin, who appeared as a witness, of perjury. Ahok threatened to take legal action against Ma’ruf.
Ahok’s statement had sparked a furious backlash from the followers of Indonesia’s largest Islamic mass organization, the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU). Despite acting in his capacity as the MUI chairman, Ma’ruf also served as a top official, known as Rais Aam, of the Nahdlatul Ulama central executive board. Indonesia’s sixth president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had also expressed his anger over alleged wiretapping of his conversations with Ma’ruf.
The Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, Jakarta Metro Police chief Insp. Gen. M. Iriawan and Jakarta Military commander Major General Teddy Lhaksmana had met with Ma’ruf to calm things down.
On Wednesday, Ahok apologized to Ma’ruf. He also denied intending to file a lawsuit against Ma’ruf. Tempo yesterday interviewed Ma’ruf in his residence at Jalan Deli Lorong 27, Koja, North Jakarta.
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono confirmed that he had phone conversations with you on October last year, what did you discuss?
I have no comment. [On Wednesday, Yudhoyono admitted having conversations with Ma’ruf via a cell phone belonging to the MUI chairman’s staffer. Yudhoyono said he only informed Ma’ruf that his son, Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono, wanted to ask for blessing from the Nahdlatul Ulama central executive board and Muhammadiyah, Indonesia’s second largest Islamic mass organization, to run for Jakarta gubernatorial election in 2017].
On Wednesday night, Minister Luhut, Jakarta Metro Police chief, and Jakarta Military commander met you. What was the topic?
Nothing special, silaturahmi [a friendly social call], to maintain good relationships, also to discuss measures to maintain order, to prevent social unrest. They also asked me to call for calm due to my closeness to the people.
To call for calm after Ahok’s statements in the trial on Tuesday?
Yes, for calm. To avoid getting angry when provoked.
Were you offended by Ahok’s statements in the trial?
No. It’s the ummah [Muslim community] who are furious with it.
Ahok had extended his apology. What is your response?
Yes, it’s true. When someone apologizes to you, you have to forgive him. It’s over.
Does it mean that the case is closed?
He has apologized, I have accepted it. It’s over.
HUSSEIN ABRI DONGDORAN