A court in Indonesia has found Lina Lutfiawati guilty of breaching the country’s blasphemy laws in a TikTok food video and has sentenced her for two years. The court in the Indonesian city of Palembang, on the southern part of Sumatra island, found the 33-year-old deliberately “spread information that was intended to incite hate or individual or group enmity based on religion” and ordered her to pay a fine of 250 million rupiah ($16, 249.59).
Indonesia is the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation and has recorded many blasphemous cases. In the TikTok video she was seeing, she was praying (Islamic prayer) before eating the crispy pork skin, and her action in the video quickly attracted the attention of millions of viewers.
The eating of pork is haram for human beings, both Muslims and non-Muslims. There is evidence in the Bible that makes the eating of pork forbidden (Leviticus 11:7). Islam is emphatic about it because it is not permissible under Islamic law for a Muslim to eat the flesh of a pig.
Lutfiawati, who was also known as Lina Mukherjee, is a Muslim. Following her arrest and prosecution, she issued a public apology, expressing a humble regret for the video and being surprised at the verdict. She expressed on a local news station, “I know that I am wrong, but I did not expect this punishment.”
The Executive Director of Amnesty International Indonesia, Usman Hamid, condemned the blasphemy law as it was being battered to target minority groups and dissenters.
He said, “It contravenes Indonesia’s international obligations in relation to respect and protection for freedom of thought, conscience, and religion or belief, freedom of opinion and expression.”
The case is the latest in a number of blasphemy cases around the country, mostly against those deemed to have insulted Islam, which analysts have said undermine Indonesia’s reputation for moderation. The Indonesian Ulema Council, a top body of Muslim leaders, told the court that Lutfiawati’s video was blasphemous against Islam, according to the court document. Last year, six people were arrested on blasphemy charges after a bar chain promoted free beer for patrons named Mohammed. And in August, the head of an Islamic boarding school that allowed men and women to pray alongside each other and women to become preachers was charged with blasphemy and hate speech.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES