An Indonesian Protestant politician could face up to 10 years in prison for offensive comments against Islam that he made on Twitter early this month.
Police arrested Ferdinand Hutahaean, a Democrat Party politician, on January 10 after his January 4 tweet was reported by two individuals as offensive to Islam.
“It is a pity that your God is evidently weak [and] must be defended. My God is amazing, [he] is everything. He is always my defender, and my God does not need to be defended,” read Hutahaean’s tweet.
Although Hutahaean later apologized in a video on social media, saying his earlier tweet was “an imaginary dialogue between my heart and mind” and had nothing to do with a certain group or religion, authorities charged him with “hate speech.”
Hutahaean will be detained at the Police Headquarters Detention Center for the next 20 days “to ensure he does not escape or destroy evidence,” said a report on the website of International Christian Concern.
Once charged, he can face a maximum sentence of 10 years.
Jaya, M. Amin, general secretary of the Regional Council of the Alumni Corps of the Islamic Student Association, welcomed the police action.
“Don’t make fun of ethnicity, religion, race and intergroup relations,” said Amin.
“Moreover, the name of Allah is definitely not to be played with. We must take care of each other amid the plurality of this nation, which we love so much. Different religions are required to respect each other,” he added.
The International Christian Concern said Hutahaean joins the list of other Christians recently arrested and detained for insulting Islam on social media, such as Joseph Suyardi and Muhammad Kace.
In December, Suryadi, a 39-year-old Christian, was charged with blasphemy for allegedly insulting Islam by comparing the Prophet Muhammad with an alleged child rapist in a social media post.
In August of the same year, police arrested Kace, a Christian YouTuber, after a series of complaints were filed by Muslims accusing him of blasphemy.
He claimed the Prophet Muhammad was “surrounded by devils and liars” in a video posted on YouTube.