Netizens debate the use of the word #pakai to determine whether or not Ahok insulted the Quran

The November 4 mass protest in Jakarta was a response by members of Indonesia’s Islamic hardline groups who believe that Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama insulted the Islamic holy book of Quran in a speech he made in front of Kepulauan Seribu residents last month.

Video recordings of that speech became viral back then, but one version, which showed an approximately 30-second portion of Ahok’s speech, is believed to have misled people to believe that Ahok insulted the Quran directly. Many people believe it was that video that caused the initial burst of anger against Ahok that ultimately led to the Nov 4 protest.

Allegedly transcribed and first uploaded by a citizen named Buni Yani, that version of the video captioned Ahok as saying “dibodohi surat Al Maidah” (fooled by surah Al Maidah [in the Quran]), whereas Ahok actually said “dibodohi pakai surat Al Maidah” (fooled using surah Al Maidah).

There’s a clear linguistic distinction between the two sentences, particularly in regards to who (people using the Quran) or what (the Quran itself) is doing the fooling.

Ahok was questioned as a witness by the National Police in the alleged religious blasphemy case for the first time yesterday. Today, the hashtag #pakai is the top trending topic on social media in Indonesia as netizens are debating whether or not Ahok insulted the Quran, the conclusion to which seems to hinge on the use (or lack thereof) of the word “pakai” (using) in his speech.

Chased by a horse VS Chased using a horse VS Used by a horse

I eat using a spoon, I drink using a glass VS I eat a spoon, I drink a glass.

Shot by tear gas or shot with tear gas? Either one hurts equally.

Dibohongi surat Al Maidah = Al Quran is accused of lying
Dibohongi pakai surat Al Maidah = the ulemas are accused of lying.

Netizens also pointed out that Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) grand imam Habib Rizieq, who has been very vocal in leading the calls for Ahok’s prosecution, also once urged people not to believe those who lie #pakai Al Quran.

The video has recently resurfaced to point out the hypocrisy that Ahok is being investigated by the police for saying essentially the same thing whereas Habib Rizieq was not.

Buni Yani’s confession

Soon after his video went viral, Buni Yani appeared in TV One’s talkshow program ‘Indonesia Lawyers Club’ and admitted that he was wrong not to include the word “pakai” in his caption of the video. However, regardless of semantics based on the word “pakai”, he believes that Ahok shouldn’t have even mentioned the Quran at all as it is a sensitive topic to Muslims.

Buni Yani is scheduled for questioning by the National Police on Thursday. His lawyers yesterday warned that Buni Yani shouldn’t be made the scapegoat in Ahok’s case, because all he did was write his thoughts in caption form on Ahok’s video and he did not alter Ahok’s speech in any way, apart from failing to include the word “pakai”.


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