Muslim Cleric Arrested for Insulting Christianity in Indonesia


A Muslim cleric in Indonesia, Muhammad Yahya Waloni, has been arrested by the police for insulting Christians. He was arrested at his residence in Jakarta on August 26 and was charged with hate speech and blasphemy. 

According to UCA News, Waloni is a former Protestant who converted to Islam in 2006 and then went on to become a cleric. His crime includes using offensive language on Christianity by saying the Holy Bible is unreal in one of his preaching.

The police spokesman, Brig. Gen. Rusdi Hartono stated that in April, a civil group filed a complaint about the actions of Waloni. This led to his arrest last week. However, Hartono informed reporters that investigations are still ongoing.

The arrest of Waloni took the police four months to execute. When the police spokesman was asked why it took that long despite getting the report earlier, he said the investigation required time.

Three days earlier, a Christian who recently converted from Islam was arrested for supposedly insulting Islam. Muhammad Kace was accused of blasphemy. On August 23, he was arrested in Bali after he was said to have uploaded videos on YouTube which insulted the Prophet Muhammad and Islam. In the videos, he was alleged to have said that Mohammad was “surrounded by devils and liars.” 

The arrest of Waloni and Kace follow the request by Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas that individuals who commit hate speech and blasphemy should be tracked and prosecuted.

 “All are equal before the law. Therefore, there must be a fair treatment in all cases, including blasphemy and hate speech,” Qoumas said. Besides, he called on religious leaders to be consistent with offering assistance that will increase acceptance of other religions among their followers.

The spokesman of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia, Philip Situmorang, released a statement urging people to think properly before making certain affirmations about other religions. Likewise, he said that in the same way Kace’s case would be handled, Waloni’s case should be handled too.

 “In cases of blasphemy, police and law enforcement officials must be fair instead of siding with a certain group. Christians have been arrested and brought to court in blasphemy cases, while those insulting Christianity or other religions have been left alone. Such unfair treatment causes anxiety among Christians,’’ Situmorang added.

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