An Indonesian court sentenced a woman to two years in prison for saying a Muslim phrase in a video posted on social media and then eating pork, which is prohibited in Islam, Reuters reported.
33-year-old Lina Lutfiawati, also known as Lina Mukherjee, posted a video on TikTok in March in which she says the Muslim formula “bismillah” (Arabic: “in the name of God”) and then eats a pork dish. According to court documents, the woman described herself as a follower of Islam.
A court in the city of Palembang on the island of Sumatra sentenced her to two years in prison on Tuesday, judging that she had intentionally “distributed information intended to incite hatred or hostility against a person or group on religious grounds.” The woman also has to pay a fine of 250 million rupees.
The verdict surprised the accused. “I know I’m wrong, but I didn’t expect such a punishment,” she told local television station MetroTV.
The Indonesian Council of Ulema, Muslim scholars, assessed during the trial that the accused’s actions constituted blasphemy against Islam, according to the case files quoted by the media.
The verdict sparked mixed reactions on Indonesian social media. Many Internet users expressed satisfaction with the woman’s conviction, while others criticized the court and emphasized that the sentences imposed in the country for corruption are often lower, the BBC reported.
Strict regulations in Indonesia
IN Indonesia, the most populous Muslim-majority country, has strict anti-blasphemy laws. Critics believe that they harm Indonesia’s image as a tolerant and culturally diverse country, noted Reuters.
Director of the organization Amnesty International in Indonesia, Usman Hamid criticized blasphemy laws, saying they were abused against minorities and dissidents. “They contradict Indonesia’s international obligations to respect and protect freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief, freedom of opinion and expression,” he noted.
In the past, anti-blasphemy laws were mainly used against people who were accused of insulting Islam. Among them is the former governor of Jakarta, Christian Basuki “Ahok” Purnama, who in 2017 was sentenced to two years in prison after a trial widely considered to be politically motivated – reminds Reuters.
Main photo source: Alpha/CC BY-SA 2.0/wikipedia.org