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Sunday, September 5, 2010

30 Days of Blasphemy - Day 5 - Strategic Blasphemy

I have to be straight with you all, I believe in blasphemy, but I don't believe in stupid. By stupid I mean committing an act (lets say a blasphemous act) in a country with limited free speech (say Indonesia) without weighing the consequences of one's actions.

What? Do I have an example in mind?

Yes. Yes I do.

Luke Gregory Lloyd, 64 years old may not be a rocket scientist, but the man has got balls the size of Texas. It seems that Mr Lloyd was living close to a mosque on the island of Lombok (see the complete article from the Jakarta Post here). The mosque, it's reported, played recitals of the holy Koran from 9pm until 3am during Ramadan (a month long celebration). For some unknown reason that annoyed Mr. Lloyd a wee bit.

This is where the balls the size of Texas comes in. Mr. Lloyd strode over to the mosque...

and unplugged the holy loudspeaker ergo silencing the wise, tolerant, and enlightened passages from the Koran.

The important question that springs to mind is: Did Mr Lloyd get a good night sleep afterwards?

The article doesn't mention how long it took for the angry mob to show up and chase Mr. Lloyd. I also assume the he hid in his house as the crowd broke windows in the desire to show him the love of Allah (praise be his name). The authorities are not officially charging Mr Loyd with blasphemy (if found guilty of blasphemy he could get 5 years in prison), rather they are charging him with living in their enlightened country with an expired visa. If Mr. Lloyd is lucky he will simply be deported.

That, however, is not the crazy part.

Indonesia is a moderate Islamic country. They have had a woman as their president. It is the third most populous democracy on the planet (India, USA, Indonesia) and many different religions are allowed to worship there officially: Islam, Catholic, Christian (meaning Protestant - I wonder how that goes over with the Catholics?), Buddhism, Hinduism, and Confucianism. What makes Indonesia's blasphemy law soooo nifty is that it covers all of the above religions. That's right, you can't talk smack about any of the orthodox interpretations of those faiths. In practice, however, most of the blasphemy cases are against orthodox Islam. It isn't just non-Muslims blaspheming against Allah. The  law has been used to oppress non-orthodox Muslims (click here to see the whole piece from Aljazeera).
The government used the blasphemy law in the past to outlaw religious groups, including Ahmadiya, a minority Islamic group banned in 2008 whose members identify themselves as Muslims but do not believe in the core tenet of Islam that Muhammad is the last prophet.
But that still isn't the crazy part.

I was reading Indonesia Now with Duncan Graham and saw a post from March concerning how the blasphemy law may be overruled by the Indonesian Supreme Court  (don't get your hopes up the court ruled in favor of the blasphemy law in April by a 8 to1 margin).

That's where I found the crazy part.

Indonesia requires citizens to carry identification cards that state what religion they belong to.  Sorry followers of Shinto, you can only choose from one of the big six that were mentioned earlier and Muslim is the default setting (no surprise there). Atheists are still associated with the Communist insurgency (ended in the 1960's) that left half a million dead. A closeted Indonesian Atheist wrote what could happen if it became known he was not a Goddie,
... likely that I could be physically attacked or killed because I'm a kafir (unbeliever) and my blood is halal (allowed to be spilled) according to Islam .
Are you surprised?

Probably not.

You live in Purgatory.

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