Woman charged with blasphemy for saying mosque was too noisy
The Chinese-Indonesian could face a jail term of 18 months over her complaint, which led to a riot and the destruction of Buddhist temples in North Sumatra
A Chinese-Indonesian woman could face an 18-month jail term for blasphemy after she complained that the loudspeakers at a mosque were too noisy, triggering a riot that destroyed numerous temples.
Meiliana, a 44-year-old Buddhist living at Tanjung Balai in North Sumatra, said that the azan, or Islamic call to prayer, was “too loud” and “hurt” her ear. Angry mobs wrecked at least 14 Buddhist temples and forced some Chinese families to flee to neighboring countries.
The incident occurred in July 2016, but Meiliana was only charged in May this year. Nineteen people were jailed for periods of one to four months over the riots, mostly for looting or malicious damage.
Prosecutors this week demanded that Meiliana be jailed for 18 months for violating Indonesia’s criminal code by committing blasphemy against Islam. Her lawyer, Rantau Sibarani, said there was no clear evidence that she had been blasphemous.
“This case seems to be very forced. This is only to fulfill the will of the people,” Sibarani told Judge Wahyu Prasetyo Wibowo, according to AP. The trial will resume Thursday.