Former Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama has been included in the list of top 100 global thinkers of 2017 by US global affairs publication Foreign Policy.
Basuki, or Ahok as he is commonly referred to, is credited by Foreign Policy for “standing up to Indonesia’s creeping fundamentalism”. The publication notes that his impulsive style coupled with his being of a Christian-Chinese descent collided with the country’s increasingly powerful hard-line Islamist groups.
This tension, which was then escalated by Ahok’s “misstep” of uttering a allegedly blasphemous remark which led to his imprisonment, made him the “most prominent symbol of Indonesia’s beleaguered ethnic and religious pluralism”.
Despite his popularity among many, Ahok lost in the recent Jakarta gubernatorial election, losing to newly elected Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan who was backed by almost all Muslim groups and their millions of followers nationwide.
Ahok was the only Indonesian to make Foreign Policy’s list this year where he was included alongside of the Women of the #MeToo Movement, Britain’s opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn and French President Emmanuel Macron.