Indonesian police arrested the leader of a hardline Muslim group and several other activists for suspected treason ahead of a blasphemy protest

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

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.

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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 Koran.

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The blasphemy case and the ease with which hard-liners attracted several hundred thousand to protest against Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama have undermined Indonesia’s reputation for practicing a moderate form of Islam and shaken the secular government as well as mainstream Muslim groups.

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