Two Preachers in Indonesia Charged with Blasphemy

On August 25 Muhammad Kece, a Christian preacher, was arrested at his good friend’s home in Bali for alleged blasphemy in opposition to Islam. Amongst different allegations, the authorities charged him with altering the phrase “Allah” in the Islamic oath to “Jesus.” He has been detained in a Jakarta detention middle.

A day later, Yahya Waloni, a Muslim imam, was arrested at his home in Jakarta after allegedly saying in a sermon that the Bible was pretend. Waloni is being held in a hospital in Jakarta.

Indonesia’s blasphemy legislation punishes feedback which might be discovered to deviate from the central tenets of Indonesia’s six formally acknowledged religions – Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism – with as much as six years in jail if the crime is revealed on the web. It’s recurrently used for political functions and largely in opposition to weak teams.

Greater than 150 folks, principally from Indonesia’s non secular minorities, have been convicted beneath the blasphemy legislation since 2004. The legislation is mostly used in opposition to folks deemed to have criticized Islam. This consists of the case of former Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Purnama, a Christian, who was sentenced to 2 years in jail in 2017 and faraway from workplace after a politically motivated smear marketing campaign.

The 2 current arrests befell after the Minister of Non secular Affairs, Yaqut Cholil Qoumas, requested the police “to equally” crack down on folks from completely different religions who commit blasphemy. “There should be truthful therapy in all circumstances, together with blasphemy and hate speech,” he mentioned.

Sarcastically, Qoumas himself has been a goal of the blasphemy legislation. In 2018 Indonesia’s largest Muslim group, the Nahdlatul Ulama, demanded the banning of the militant non secular group Hizbut Tahrir. Members of the youth wing, which Qoumas then chaired, burned a Hizbut Tahrir flag, which additionally comprises the Muslim oath, prompting protests in opposition to Qoumas.

This phony evenhandedness shouldn’t be the reply, neither is the federal government’s plan to develop the legislation’s use. As an alternative, the federal government ought to promptly repeal the blasphemy legislation. However right this moment, the authorities ought to drop the fees in opposition to each preachers and launch them.

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