The aim of this paper is to analyze rhetorical rejections from Muslims, a majority group, who refused a non-Muslim Chinese candidate in the 2012 Jakarta gubernatorial election. The study focuses to explore (1) the social representations of the Chinese and how it was used to attack the Chinese candidate and (2) a construction process of a “new” social representation on how a religious teaching was constructed to have nothing to do with negative sentiments or hatred. The field study focused on analyzing the sequential events related to the sermon of a prominent Islamic figure, his denial of the hate contents in his sermon, and the support he received from his Muslim supporters. The results showed that when the Chinese are negatively represented, a Chinese is considered unfit to lead Jakarta as he may disgrace the nation. Moreover, it is found that when a rhetorical rejection toward a non-Muslim is supported by a religious teaching, such rejection is considered not related to negative sentiments.


Prejudice, Social Identity, Social Representations, Hate Speech

Author Bio(s)

Idhamsyah Eka Putra is a lecturer in Psychology Graduate Programs at Persada Indonesia University and a division coordinator for Applied Social Psychology in the center for Police and Terrorism Research at University of Indonesia. He holds a doctoral degree (with distinction) in social psychology from Johannes Kepler University of Linz, Austria. His research interest is in social psychology studying prejudice, (Islamic) terrorism, intergroup relations, social exclusions, and intergroup conflicts. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: idhamsyah.ekaputra@gmail.com.


I would like to thank to Meithya Rose Prasetya Puteri for her contribution on the very early version of the paper.

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