Indonesia upholds blasphemy law
An Indonesian court has ruled to uphold a 1965 blasphemy law that allows for criminal penalties and bans on people or groups that “distort” the central tenets of six officially recognised religions.
The court on Monday rejected a petition by moderate Muslims, religious minorities, democracy advocates and rights groups against the law in a case seen as a major test of the mainly Muslim country’s pluralism.
By a margin of eight to one, the judges ruled that while the law was imperfect, it did not contravene the country’s constitution and “was vital to religious harmony.”
The law carries a maximum punishment of five years for beliefs that deviate from the orthodox versions of six sanctioned faiths – Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Catholicism, Protestantism and Confucianism.
“The law should be upheld because if it is annulled … Islam and the Quran could be interpreted at will and people and figures could declare new prophets and establish new religions,” Suryadharma Ali, Indonesia’s minister of religious affairs, said before the ruling.
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]Indonesia upholds blasphemy law,