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Noisy mosque complaint lands a Buddhist woman in prison

Noisy mosque complaint lands a Buddhist woman in prison

An ethnic Chinese woman known as Meiliana has been sentenced in Indonesia to 18 months in prison following a complaint she made back in 2016 that a neighbourhood mosque was making too much noise.

According to this report, her complaint was interpreted by a court as being an insult to Islam.

Prosecutors said the 44-year-old defendant violated the criminal code by committing blasphemy.

Meiliana complained to a member of the public that the volume was too loud near her house in North Sumatra in 2016.

There are hundreds of thousands of mosques across the vast archipelago and most use loudspeakers to play the “azan” or call to prayer, which lasts a few minutes. But many also play lengthy versions of prayers or sermons lasting over 30 minutes, which has been deemed unnecessary by the Indonesian Mosque Council.

Jamaluddin, a spokesman for the Medan district court, is quoted as saying:

She said something that insulted religion – in this case Islam.

He added that the defendant had also showed remorse and apologised.

Following media reports of Meiliana’s comments, mobs burned and ransacked at least fourteen Buddhist temples throughout the port town Medan in 2016.

Political activists have warned that the country’s stringent blasphemy laws have been used to bully minorities and violate religious freedoms.

Bonar Tigor Naipospos, deputy chair of SETARA Institute, an Indonesian-based democracy organisation, said in the case of Meiliana she had been used as a scapegoat because of political pressure.

What Meiliana did could not be categorised as blasphemy

He also said the Indonesian government needed to revise the laws, or there would be similar cases in the future.

Meiliana’s lawyer, Ranto Sibarani, said her sentence would be appealed.

The maximum sentence for blasphemy is five years.

In this report, Usman Hamid, Amnesty International Indonesia’s Executive Director, said:

Making a complaint about noise is not a criminal offence. This ludicrous decision is a flagrant violation of freedom of expression. 

Sentencing someone to 18 months in prison for something so trivial is a stark illustration of the increasingly arbitrary and repressive application of the blasphemy law in the country. The higher court in North Sumatra must reverse this injustice by quashing Meiliana’s sentence and ensuring her immediate and unconditional release

But a conservative group, Islamic Community Forum, said Meilana’s sentence was too light.

Yesterday we reported on a “Jihadi” parade by kindergarten in Indonesia.

7 responses to “Noisy mosque complaint lands a Buddhist woman in prison”

  1. Broga says:

    Noise pollution. Tinnitus is on the rise and once you have got it then that is it. For an atheist to develop tinnitus at all is bad enough but to get it from religion of any kind, e.g. these bloody bells. A bell ringer neighbour of mine when I lived in England got it from the bells.

  2. Brummie says:

    Blasphemy, the victimless “crime”.

  3. andym says:

    Another religion at ease with itself.

  4. L.Long says:

    Once again isLame proves it is a bat-shit crazy religion full of aholes that have enough money to bribe officials to support their st00pid BS!
    What the lazy bat-shit crazy aholes can get to the mosque on time cuz they don’t believe in alarms on their iPhones???
    Would not be able to do this here, cuz of the officials did not enforce noise laws, the isLamic aholes will go broke replacing damaged speakers.

  5. Brian says:

    Primitive. Islam the shit stain in the underpants of the world.

  6. Jim Baerg says:

    Is there a crime more deserving of death than an attempt to pass or enforce a law forbidding blasphemy?

  7. Laura Roberts says:

    I’ve heard those calls to prayer, though not in Indonesia. Those loudspeakers are indeed obnoxious. When all the mosques in a city are broadcasting, it sounds for all the world like one is stuck in the middle of a vast, excessively boisterous herd of cattle.