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Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Indonesia: Court upholds blasphemy law

Indonesia's constitutional court upheld a controversial blasphemy law Monday that critics say limits religious freedom in the world's largest Muslim-majority country, ruling that the law is vital to religious harmony.

The 1965 law was challenged by a coalition of rights groups and civil society organizations who consider it discriminatory. But it is supported by religious conservatives, including the radical Islamic Defenders Front, which had gathered at the court and threatened to protest if the judges didn't uphold it.

Although the law recognizes six official religions in the country - the standard forms of Islam, Catholicism, Protestantism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Confucianism - rights activists say it discriminates against minority religions, including Muslims whose beliefs differ from the mainstream.

The vast majority of Indonesia's 235 million people are moderate Sunni Muslims.

Opponents say the law, which carries penalties of up to 5 years in jail and allows the government to ban groups that "distort" the official religions, should be struck down because it limits religious freedom - which is constitutionally protected in this secular country.

This has nothing to do with protecting other religions. Even the Govt defended the blasphemy law because:

The consequences [if the law is annulled] are that people, figures, could establish new religions, declare new prophets, new angels.

Oh, what a problem…

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Karen Howes said...

Ah, Islam. So tolerant and loving. Just brings to mind animated birds flying around and Disney songs playing in the background...

Claudia said...

You know what problem I see here? That mainstream denominations (I belong to Catholicism, so I am "mainstream") are not going to protest this ban (or I'm much mistaken). There will be no progress without criticism. And "establishing new religions and new angels" is a way to protest against mainstream denominations.
Of course, that is no good for the "elite", but it's good for the citizens...

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