She had only spoken for about 15 minutes when the police interrupted her, announcing that the event should be called off because hundreds of members and supporters of hardline Muslim group the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) had congregated outside the building and demanded an end to the event.
Manji was escorted out of Salihara under heavy police guard.
Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Rikwanto said Salihara had breached a regulation by failing to report to the police when it planned to feature Manji as a speaker in the forum.
“There have been rejections from the local neighborhood and community units as well as an organization [FPI] against the book discussion. The locals urged that the event be ended because it discussed a sensitive issue,” Rikwanto said in Jakarta on Saturday.
“Besides, Irshad Manji is a lesbian activist and she was going to talk about a book that will offend what the majority of Muslims believe. We saw a potential for a public order disruption,” he added.