July 19, 2024

Lina Lutfiawati was given a two year sentence over the video showing her praying before eating crispy pork.

An Indonesian court has jailed a woman for two years after she was found guilty of breaching the country’s blasphemy laws in a TikTok food video she posted in March.

The video showed Lina Lutfiawati reciting a Muslim prayer before eating some crispy pork skin and quickly amassing millions of views.

Pork is considered ‘haram’, or not permissible, under Islamic law.

On Tuesday, 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/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.

The court said Lutfiawati, who also goes by the name Lina Mukherjee, identified as a Muslim.

Lutfiawati issued a public apology for the video and expressed surprise at the verdict.

“I know that I am wrong, but I did not expect this punishment,” Lutfiawati said on the local news station MetroTV.

The case is the latest in a number of blasphemy cases around the country, mostly against those deemed to have insulted Islam, that analysts have said undermine Indonesia’s reputation for moderation.

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.

Last year, six people were arrested on blasphemy charges after a bar chain promoted free beer for patrons named Mohammed.

In 2019, Indonesia’s Supreme Court upheld an 18-month jail sentence for an ethnic Chinese Buddhist woman convicted of blasphemy over claims she said a nearby mosque’s loudspeakers were too loud.

Usman Hamid, executive director of Amnesty International Indonesia, said the blasphemy law was being abused to target minority groups and dissenters.

“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,” he said.

Jakarta’s former governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, popularly known as Ahok and who is a Christian, was sentenced to two years in prison in 2017 for blasphemy, on charges widely seen as politically motivated.

The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), a top body of Muslim leaders, told the court that Lutfiawati’s video was blasphemous against Islam, according to the court document.

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