Freedom Ain’t Free & Take Our Country Back

VICTORY Is Not Defeat

Indonesia: Blasphemy Law Abuse


From time to time, documents from IHEU, Freedom House,  and similar non-governmental organizations will make reference to the abuse of blasphemy laws to deny the human rights of religious minorities.   An  editorial in the Jakarta Globe, from December 30, is a case in point.

The article calls for the government and religious leaders to take “concrete and substantial steps” to stop the abuse of “religious freedom in Indonesia”. The editorial calls for amendments to the laws and reform in their enforcement.  The specific reference is to ” article 156a of the Criminal Code.

Jakarta Globe 12/30/09
Abuse of Religious Freedom Hurts Indonesia And Renders God Defenseless

Interestingly, the government often has turned a blind eye when radical Islamic groups violate this very article. Most of the “deviant” sects and individuals charged under this law practiced their beliefs peacefully, yet it has been conservative groups like the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and the Indonesian Mujahideen Council (MMI) that have incited hostilities against these very groups. If the government was to enforce this law strictly and without bias, those conservatives and radicals proven guilty of spreading hatred against humanity through demonstrations, raids, religious gatherings or jihadi Web sites would have been put behind bars long ago.

Such a change would require revision of the 2006 civil registration bill that requires Indonesian citizens to identify their religion on their national identity cards (KTP). The category for religion could either be removed entirely, or people from minority groups could finally be allowed to acknowledge their real beliefs. This would decrease religious discrimination against those whose beliefs lay outside of the country’s six recognized religions. On this note, the government could further promote religious freedom by no longer officially acknowledging only six religions, but by embracing the multitude of religions and beliefs practiced in Indonesia.


The government also must address the violation of religious freedom and human rights made possible by the existence of religious institutions such as the Coordinating Board for Monitoring Mystical Beliefs in Society (Bakor Pakem) and the Indonesian Council of Ulema (MUI). Tasked with monitoring and resolving instances of deviant interpretation of religious doctrine, Bakor Pakem’s authority has increased state intervention in religious issues in a way that clearly violates the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom.


Those excerpts from the editorial are sufficient to clarify the issue of undesired side effects of  “defamation of religion” resolutions and the proposed protocol to ICERD.  The UNHRC is scheduled to take up these Issues March 23.  Now is the time for us to make our objections known.

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March 15, 2010 - Posted by | Political Correctness | , ,

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