Indonesia’s courts have opened the door to fear and religious extremism

The Jakarta court that sentenced governor Basuki “Ahok” Purnama to two years’ imprisonment for blasphemy against Islam has sent a chilling message to non-Muslims in Indonesia. How could religious freedom slowly decline in Indonesia? And how could political Islam shape the country?

Ahok, himself a Christian, is the biggest political figure to be victimised under the blasphemy law. He is not only the Jakarta governor, backed by Indonesia’s biggest political party, but he’s also an ally of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo. Ahok and Jokowi were the dream team: Jokowi with vision, Ahok doing daily management.

Ahok’s imprisonment is a big blow for the president. He too might expect to be called infidel, kafir – a term used by Islamists to describe their fellow Muslim opponents.

Indonesia’s transition from dictatorship to democracy has created space for more freedom of expression for all Indonesians, including Islamists. Emboldened by the government’s inaction on discrimination and violence against religious minorities, over the last 19 years Islamists have increasingly sought to enforce laws like the blasphemy law more strictly to “protect” Islam and move Indonesia from a secular to an Islamic state. [126 comments. Closed for comments early]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 88 votes] Yet another reason why I left the religion.

The only way to fight this is to continue to blaspheme. Because the judiciary is beholden to the so-called moderates.

[2ND 85] Islamic extremism already openly exists in Indonesia. Aceh has been under full Sharia law for some time.

[3RD 77] Indonesia is descending into the grips of hard line Islamic influences. It’s ok to burn the Bible in Indonesia but non Muslims cannot comment on anything Quranic.

Time for Christians to flee. Yet again.

[4TH 74] Indonesia is an outright disgrace of a country. It’s continued occupation and systematic genocide of West Papua us a blight on Australia for ignoring the travesty of justice and human rights abususes occuring on our doorstep. Australia needs to send a strong and emphatic signal to Indonesia that if they want to be treated as anything other than a corrupted 3rd world medieval abomination, they need to embrace the notion of a secular democratic society.

[5TH 70] I am sure Stephen Fry is relieved he isn’t in Indonesia.

[6TH 69] “The court also adopted the Islamist’s position that non-Muslims should not comment on Qur’anic interpretations.” Sadly that’s a phenomena being pushed all over the world.

[7TH 67] Sad. Indonesia (along with Turkey) used to be the poster boy of moderate Islam, repeatedly cited as an example of how Muslim-majority countries can be secular, modern and progressive. Now both Indonesia and Turkey seem to have succumbed to radical Islam. The extremists seem to be winning, and the purported moderates seem to have no answers, nor the will to go the extra mile to fight this hijacking of their religion by fanatical murderers. [Guardian Cif] Read more

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