This story affirms in its own words what blasphemy prosecutions boil down to: sacrilege by disagreement, noting that “The defendant and the panel of judges still have a difference of opinion.” Such laws are a supremacist tool to keep dissenters and non-Muslims fearful and erring on the side of silence. “Spiritual Group Leader Gets 4 Years In Jail for Blasphemy, Plans Appeal,” by Hangga Brata for the Jakarta Globe, March 14 (thanks to The Religion of Peace):
Klaten, Central Java. Andreas Guntur, the leader of Amanat Keagungan Ilahi, a spiritual group which draws upon certain verses of the Koran, was sentenced to a four-year jail sentence for blasphemy on Tuesday at the Klaten District Court.
Andreas”s attorney Suwardi said he would appeal. He said the panel of judges rejected all of his client’s defense and gave him the maximum possible sentence of four years in jail.
“The defendant and the panel of judges still have a difference of opinion. AKI is still not considered a belief,” Suwardi said.
According to a Web site maintained by AKI group members, AKI is not a religion but draws on divine inspiration allegedly received by founder R. Usman in 1969. The group’s references to Koranic verses but rejection of conventional Islamic rituals has led it to be condemned by bodies such as the Indonesia Council of Ulema (MUI), which issued a fatwa against it in 2009.
The court trial was heavily guarded by Klaten Police to prevent any possible clashes as tens of Muslim activists attended the proceedings.
The supposed blasphemy was discovered last October when several Islamic mass organizations stormed Andreas”s house after his neighbors complained about religious activities that Andreas performed with his colleagues in the house.
Local residents said Andreas would perform his activities until 3 a.m. and they would sometimes hear people cry. When the sect was disbanded, there were 23 people in Andreas”s house….
But the charge is “blasphemy,” and not some other wrongdoing.