Jan 20, 2012 01:37 PST
[Such is the level of intolerance in Indonesia, even among the general
public, actually reinforced by an anti blasphemy law. And these days,
religious fundamentalism or intolerance towards other religious creeds
is also becoming a big problem in Indonesia. TAPOL]
The Jakarta Globe
January 19, 2012
‘God Does Not Exist’ Comment Ends Badly for Indonesia Man
by Camelia Pasandaran
An Indonesian civil servant who posted “God does not exist” on his
Facebook page has been taken into police custody for his own
protection after he was badly beaten.
The man, identified as Alexander, 31, now faces the prospect of losing
his job, or even being jailed, if he fails to repent and accept one of
six official state religions.
Blasphemy carries a maximum sentence of five years in jail.
Local media reported that when Alexander arrived at work at the
Dharmasraya Development Planning Board (Bappeda) on Wednesday, a group
of men, also understood to comprise government officials, attacked and
beat him before police arrived and took him into protective custody.
Dharmasraya Police Chief Sr. Comr. Chairul Aziz told the Jakarta Globe
that Alexander moderated a Facebook account titled “Ateis Minang”
(Minang Atheists) and had written an update that “God does not exist.”
Chairul said he could not confirm the reports that Alexander was
attacked but say that he had taken into protective custody to
“Besides, he is also afraid of being intimidated or hurt.”
Alexander was quoted by Padangekspres.co.id as saying that he did not
believe in God because of the amount of crime and disasters.
“If God indeed exists, why do bad things happen,” he was quoted as
saying. “There should only be good things if God is merciful.”
Alexander said he was born a Muslim but ceased religious activities in 2008.
“I have no idea what the problem is. When I arrived at the office, a
mob came and beat me, and took me to the police.”
Aziz said police would wait for a recommendation from the West Sumatra
Coordinating Agency to Supervise Religion and Beliefs (Bakorpakem) as
well as the Ministry of Religious Affairs before deciding on further
action against Alexander.
“If they consider what he did was blasphemy, we will charge him.”
Gusrizal Gazahar, head of the West Sumatera chapter of the Council of
Ulema (MUI), told local media that if he refused to repent, Alexander
should lose his job.
“I want him to be fired,” he said.
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