RELIGION

Police arrest leader of Muslim group behind Jakarta protests

  • Muslim protesters gather for a protest against Jakarta's minority Christian Gov. Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama at the main business district in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, March 31, 2017. Undeterred by the arrest of hardline protest leaders, thousands of Muslims marched in Indonesia's capital on Friday, calling for the jailing of the governor they accused of blaspheming the Quran. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)

    Muslim protesters gather for a protest against Jakarta's minority Christian Gov. Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama at the main business district in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, March 31, 2017. Undeterred by the arrest of hardline protest leaders, thousands of Muslims marched in Indonesia's capital on Friday, calling for the jailing of the governor they accused of blaspheming the Quran. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)  (The Associated Press)

  • Muslim men shout slogans during a protest against Jakarta's minority Christian Gov. Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama at the main business district in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, March 31, 2017. Undeterred by the arrest of hardline protest leaders, thousands of Muslims marched in Indonesia's capital on Friday, calling for the jailing of the governor they accused of blaspheming the Quran. Writings on the headbands read: "Put blasphemer in jail." (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)

    Muslim men shout slogans during a protest against Jakarta's minority Christian Gov. Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama at the main business district in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, March 31, 2017. Undeterred by the arrest of hardline protest leaders, thousands of Muslims marched in Indonesia's capital on Friday, calling for the jailing of the governor they accused of blaspheming the Quran. Writings on the headbands read: "Put blasphemer in jail." (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)  (The Associated Press)

  • Muslim protesters gather for a protest against Jakarta's minority Christian Gov. Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama at the main business district in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, March 31, 2017. Undeterred by the arrest of hardline protest leaders, thousands of Muslims marched in Indonesia's capital on Friday, calling for the jailing of the governor they accused of blaspheming the Quran. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)

    Muslim protesters gather for a protest against Jakarta's minority Christian Gov. Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama at the main business district in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, March 31, 2017. Undeterred by the arrest of hardline protest leaders, thousands of Muslims marched in Indonesia's capital on Friday, calling for the jailing of the governor they accused of blaspheming the Quran. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)  (The Associated Press)

Indonesian police said they arrested the leader of a hardline Muslim group and several other activists for suspected treason ahead of a blasphemy protest in the capital Jakarta.

Jakarta police spokesman Argo Yuwono said Muhammad Al Khathath, leader of the Muslim Peoples Forum umbrella group, was suspected of involvement in a conspiracy to commit treason and was arrested at a hotel early Friday.

The forum, which includes the Islamic Defenders Front vigilante group, has been behind a series of huge protests against the minority Christian governor of Jakarta who is on trial for allegedly blaspheming the Quran.

The protests have shaken mainstream Muslim groups and the secular government of Muslim-majority Indonesia.

Yuwono said four other Islamic activists were also arrested early Friday.