Ahok says family is ready if imprisoned amidst rising tension in Jakarta

Thousands of Muslims took part in the rally protesting against the governor's alleged blasphemies and demanded his arrest.

Jakarta Governor Basuki
Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama Reuters

Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama after two days of the massive demonstration against him in the city has opened up about the situation and said that he has already spoken with his family about the possibility of being imprisoned over alleged profanities he committed.

It is also reported that his family understands the risks associated with his position and has extended support towards him.

"I thank God that I have good family," said Ahok on 5 November as reported by tempo.co.

The Christian Governor Ahok was widely condemned for allegedly misquoting a verse from the Quran during one of his speeches in September. During the speech, Ahok criticised his opponents for citing a verse in the Quran which warns Muslims against forming an alliance with Christians and Jews saying that they were "lying". This led to an outrage and the governor was accused of criticising the Islamic holy text.

Following the incident, Ahok had apologised for his comments and said that he did not intend to insult Islam or the Quran. However, it has failed to quell the angry Muslims and they took to the street in a rally organised by the hardline Islamic Defenders Front (FPI).

On 4 November, tens of thousands of Muslims took part in the rally protesting against the governor's alleged blasphemies and demanded his resignation and arrest.

The rally turned violent after nightfall, with gangs of jihadists torching police cars and attacking officers. Police had to fire tear gas, water cannon and truncheons into thousands of rioting protesters to bring the situation under control. An elderly man also died possibly from the effects of tear gas, Jakarta police spokesman Awi Setiyono said, Today Online reported.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo vehemently condemned the riot and urged protesters to return to their homes. He also cancelled his Australia visit following the violence.