“The verdict is another indicator of rising discrimination against religious minorities in Indonesia,” as Sharia gains more influence. Islamic apologists in the West constantly claim that Sharia is so multiform and diverse as to defy characterization, yet everywhere it’s implemented it looks essentially the same.
“Indonesia’s Sentencing of ‘Son of God’ Adds to Alarm Over Crackdown,” by Jon Emont, New York Times, March 9, 2017:
JAKARTA, Indonesia — Back in his days as a badminton coach with the Indonesian national team, Ahmad Mushaddeq traveled the world on the state’s dime. But after he became the spiritual leader of a back-to-the-land organic farming movement on the island of Borneo, regarded by his followers as the messiah who succeeded Muhammad, the government locked him up for the second time on charges of blasphemy.
This week, an Indonesian court sentenced him to a five-year prison term, and gave two other leading figures of Milah Abraham, the religious sect he established, prison terms as well. The sentences, delivered on Tuesday, were the latest in a continuing crackdown on new religious movements across Indonesia that has alarmed human rights groups.
“The verdict is another indicator of rising discrimination against religious minorities in Indonesia,” said Andreas Harsono, the Indonesia representative for Human Rights Watch. He called for a review of state institutions that “facilitate such discrimination, including the blasphemy law office.”
Indonesia’s blasphemy laws have become a focus of debate ever since Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, the hard-charging Christian governor of Jakarta, was indicted on charges of insulting the Quran in November. While his case has drawn the most attention, a significant portion of the more than 106 people convicted on blasphemy charges since 2004 are not Christians or even unorthodox Muslims, but self-proclaimed prophets and their apostles.
Indonesia, a Muslim-majority nation, has “a broken system of pluralism,” said Al Makin, a professor at Sunan Kalijaga State Islamic University in Yogyakarta, who testified as an expert witness on behalf of Milah Abraham at the three men’s trial. “If the government keeps this policy of arresting people who are different from the mainstream, it means the government denies pluralism.”
Milah Abraham, also known as Gafatar, is by far the largest religious movement to have emerged in Indonesia over the past few decades, claiming over 50,000 members around the archipelago. More than 25 members have been convicted on blasphemy charges over the last decade, including 11 who spent time in prison.
During that time, numerous other self-proclaimed messiahs have also languished in prison, including Lia Aminuddin, the founder of a sect who claimed that she was the wife of the archangel Gabriel, and Agus Noro, who claimed to be a reincarnation of Sukarno, Indonesia’s first president.
Though the Indonesian Constitution ostensibly guarantees freedom of religion, that freedom does not extend to new religious movements. The state authorizes just six official religions: Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Confucianism. Establishing a new faith is virtually impossible. Sects like Milah Abraham are criticized by Muslim councils and targeted by the police for promoting heresies.
“Freedom is guaranteed in Indonesia, but violations of the law are not allowed,” Boy Rafli Amar, a police spokesman, said via the WhatsApp messaging service, writing that Milah Abraham’s teachings contradicted those of Indonesia’s established religions….