RELIGION

Indonesia police name Jakarta governor as blasphemy suspect

  • FILE - In this Nov. 4, 2016 file photo, protesters throw sticks and mineral water bottles during a clash with the police outside the presidential palace in Jakarta, Indonesia. Indonesian police on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016 named the minority Christian governor of the country's capital as a suspect in a blasphemy investigation in a major test of the Muslim-majority nation's reputation for religious tolerance. Earlier this month the capital Jakarta was rocked by a massive protest by conservative Muslims against the governor. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana, File)

    FILE - In this Nov. 4, 2016 file photo, protesters throw sticks and mineral water bottles during a clash with the police outside the presidential palace in Jakarta, Indonesia. Indonesian police on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016 named the minority Christian governor of the country's capital as a suspect in a blasphemy investigation in a major test of the Muslim-majority nation's reputation for religious tolerance. Earlier this month the capital Jakarta was rocked by a massive protest by conservative Muslims against the governor. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, popularly known as "Ahok," speaks during a campaign event in Jakarta, Indonesia, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016. Indonesian police on Wednesday named the minority Christian governor of the country's capital as a suspect in a blasphemy investigation in a major test of the Muslim-majority nation's reputation for religious tolerance. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

    Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, popularly known as "Ahok," speaks during a campaign event in Jakarta, Indonesia, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016. Indonesian police on Wednesday named the minority Christian governor of the country's capital as a suspect in a blasphemy investigation in a major test of the Muslim-majority nation's reputation for religious tolerance. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)  (The Associated Press)

  • Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, popularly known as "Ahok," wipes sweat from his head during a campaign event in Jakarta, Indonesia, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016. Indonesian police on Wednesday named the minority Christian governor of the country's capital as a suspect in a blasphemy investigation in a major test of the Muslim-majority nation's reputation for religious tolerance. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

    Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, popularly known as "Ahok," wipes sweat from his head during a campaign event in Jakarta, Indonesia, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016. Indonesian police on Wednesday named the minority Christian governor of the country's capital as a suspect in a blasphemy investigation in a major test of the Muslim-majority nation's reputation for religious tolerance. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)  (The Associated Press)

Indonesian police on Wednesday named the minority Christian governor of the country's capital as a suspect in a blasphemy investigation in a major test of the Muslim-majority nation's reputation for religious toleration.

Earlier this month the capital Jakarta was rocked by a massive protest by conservative Muslims against the governor. One person died and dozens were injured in rioting.

Police announced at a press conference that the popular governor, Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, cannot leave the country while the investigation is underway.

The accusation of blasphemy against Ahok, an ethnic Chinese and Christian who is an ally of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, has galvanized Jokowi's political opponents in the Muslim-majority nation of 250 million.

The Islamic Defenders Front, a vigilante group that wants to impose Shariah law, is demanding Ahok's arrest after a video circulated online in which he joked to an audience about a passage in the Quran that could be interpreted as prohibiting Muslims from accepting non-Muslims as leaders. The governor has apologized for the comment.

Ahok, who is seeking a second term as Jakarta governor, is popular with the city's middle class, but has made enemies from a tough stance against corruption and an urban renewal program that has evicted thousands of the city's poorest from slums.