President attends prayer event to cool down political atmosphere

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo joined thousands of people attending a prayer event aimed at cooling down the political atmosphere in Ancol, North Jakarta, on Saturday.

The event, held by the National Awakening Party (PKB), followed a massive demonstration in the capital city on November 4 that led to a minor rioting after the demonstrations went peacefully until the official deadline at 6pm.

Muslim demonstrators demanded a quick legal process into the case of blasphemy allegedly committed by Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama.

Widodo reiterated that he would not intervene in the legal process of the case, in the presence of the participants of the prayer event, including religious figures and clerics.

"From the beginning I have said that I would not intervene in legal affairs. Let the legal case be referred to the law," he said at the event titled "Joint Prayers for National Safety" at the convention center.

He said that the legal process would take time and that witnesses have also been questioned. He called on the people to be patient. "Now let us just wait for the result of the process," he said.

The police plan to conduct case deliberations next week to determine if a crime has indeed been committed in the case. If a crime has been committed, the case would be processed to determine the suspect.

Widodo urged the people not to pressurize and force law enforcement authorities to process the case or even arrest Ahok, as the Jakarta governor is also called.

"Do not pressurize the law enforcement officials. There are procedures in place to follow," he said.

Several cabinet ministers attended the event, including Minister/State Secretary Pratikno; Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Imam Nahrawi; and Manpower Minister Hanif Dhakiri, who hails from PKB.

PKB General Chairman Muhaimin Iskandar also attended the event, which was a national friendly gathering of ulemas and the people.(*)