Woman Found Guilty of Inciting Religious Hatred in Blasphemy Trial
In a recent verdict, a court in Indonesia has convicted a woman for inciting religious hatred and sentenced her to two years in prison for a TikTok video where she recited a Muslim prayer and consumed pork, which is considered forbidden in Islam.
Verdict and Sentencing
Judges at the Palembang court in South Sumatra province on Sumatra Island handed down a two-year prison sentence to Lina Lutfiawati (also known as Lina Mukherjee), who identifies as a Muslim. In addition to the prison term, she was ordered to pay a fine of 250 million rupiah (approximately $A25,350). The trial, based on blasphemy charges, concluded with this decision.
The TikTok Video
Lutfiawati had uploaded a TikTok video in March in which she said a brief prayer phrase that translates to “in the name of God” before consuming crispy pork skin. The video garnered significant attention and views.
Apologies and Regret
Following the initiation of blasphemy charges, Lutfiawati expressed regret and issued apologies on her social media accounts last month and again after the trial’s verdict on Tuesday.
Indonesia’s Blasphemy Laws
Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, considers the consumption of pork, which is “haram” or forbidden in Islam, a serious religious violation. Blasphemy laws in the country have faced criticism for being used to restrict freedom of expression. Critics argue that these laws have also been employed to target religious minorities.
Amnesty International’s Perspective:
Usman Hamid, the Executive Director of Amnesty International Indonesia, commented on the situation, stating, “What’s been happening to Lina is not surprising, despite the government’s promises to protect freedom of expression.” He pointed out that these laws have been used to target not only individuals like Lutfiawati but also religious minorities.
This case joins a list of previous incidents where Indonesia’s blasphemy laws have been applied, such as the imprisonment of Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, a Christian, in 2017, and the sentencing of an ethnic Chinese woman, Meiliana, in 2018, for complaining about a noisy mosque.