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Muslim Woman Sentenced Over TikTok Video: Indonesia's Blasphemy Law Under Scrutiny

Thursday, September 21, 2023 • Tamil Comments
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Lina Lutfiawati, also known as Lina Mukherjee on social media, has been sentenced to two years imprisonment under Indonesia's blasphemy law for uploading a TikTok. In the video, she offered an Islamic prayer while tasting pork in Bali. She was found guilty of "spreading information aimed at inciting hatred against religious individuals and specific groups."

Lina has not only received a sentence of two years imprisonment but has also been fined $16,245 (250,000,000 Indonesian rupiah), which is crippling considering that the country's annual per capita wage hovers around $4,300. Failure to pay could add three months to her prison sentence.

The world's most populous Muslim country, Indonesia, has become more religiously conservative in recent years with increased use of blasphemy laws against religious minorities and people perceived as insulting Islam.

Pork is banned by Muslims but widely consumed by non-Muslims, including Bali's majority Hindu population. Lina identifies herself as a Muslim, and her TikTok video of trying crispy pork skin while saying "Bismillah" (in the name of Allah) caused outrage among some of her 2 million social media followers.

The clip received millions of views, but it was condemned by various religious groups, which led to a public complaint followed by police investigations before she was prosecuted.

Andreas Harsono from Human Rights Watch said that there is a rising trend of radicalization in Indonesia and an increasing use of blasphemy laws, which he says spells bad for freedom of religion and belief.

This case reminds me of Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, also known as Ahok, a non-Muslim governor who was sentenced to two years in prison on charges of blasphemy. The sentencing happened in 2017 after he referred to a Quranic verse while campaigning for re-election.

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