Jokowi's deputy hit by smear campaign

Jokowi's deputy hit by smear campaign
Mr Basuki's no-nonsense leadership style has drawn strong support from some and criticism from others.

The governor of Indonesian capital Jakarta is not yet the president and his deputy not yet the new governor.

But the city's deputy governor Basuki "Ahok" Purnama is already facing heat from a smear campaign over his Chinese Christian background.

With Jakarta governor Joko "Jokowi" Widodo the front runner for the July presidential election, some groups are alleging that his deputy, Mr Basuki, will work against the interest of Muslims if he takes over as acting governor.

Three youth groups linked to Islamic party Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) say he might reduce the number of Islamic activities in the capital while closing an eye to the "moral degradation" of Jakarta, reported Tempo news website on Wednesday.

And social media messages are alleging that Mr Basuki supports the idea of removing a person's religion from identity cards, a sensitive issue in majority Muslim Indonesia. Another allegation is that he supported the destruction of an old mosque, Masjid Amir Hamzah, in central Jakarta.

"Do not incite things that can cause problems in the name of religion," Mr Basuki was quoted as saying in the Republika newspaper on Wednesday. He also explained that the mosque was being torn down partially so that a larger one could be built.

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