Congregation walkout after Idul Fitri sermon turns into tirade against ‘blasphemer’ Ahok

Viva News – June 25, 2017
Idul Fitri prayers - Undated (Viva)
Idul Fitri prayers - Undated (Viva)

Dedy Priatmojo, Daru Waskita (Yogyakarta) – There was an unusual sight during the 1438th Idul Fitri prayers at the Wonosari Square in the Gunungkidul regency of Yogyakarta province, Central Java, on the morning of Sunday June 25. The congregation dispersed in the middle of a sermon by mosque preacher Ikhsan Nuriansyah Bajuri.

Right from the start of the sermon, Ikhsan took up the blasphemy case involving former Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama or Ahok. The congregation, who had been sitting and listening to the sermon, stood up in unison, folded up their prayer mats and left the grounds.

Wonosari City Islamic Holiday Committee (PHPI) chairperson Iskanto confirmed what happened. According to Iskanto, the sermon was considered too vulgar, contained too many accusations against other parties and made an issue of the Ahok blasphemy case. “The issues raised may have been factual but for general consumption it was inappropriate”, he said.

Iskanto expressed his regret over the incident saying a preacher should be able to gauge what is appropriate to be conveyed to a congregation. He hopes that in the future sermons will contain things that are refreshing and cheerful.

Right from the start of the sermon, Ikhsan immediately took up the blasphemy case that ensnared Ahok. “Ahok is a blasphemer”, he said in front of the thousand or so strong congregation.

He then said that a blasphemer should not be defended or helped, let along assisted by the state, including the police. He said he fully supports the [two-year] sentence against Ahok and hopes that it will create a deterrent effect so that no one else will commit blasphemy.

In the end, the traditional Ikrar Halal Bihalal exchange of greetings and forgiveness that had been prepared following Idul Fitri prayers was only attended by a few people because most had already left.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the report was “Khatib Singgung Kasus Penodaan Agama, Jemaah Salat Ied Bubar”.]