Politics, Law and Security

Loudspeaker Volume Complaint Is Blasphemy

Indonesia’s blasphemy law continues to lead to controversial judgments as in the case of Meiliana, 44 who was found guilty of blasphemy for saying that the Islamic call to prayer coming from a mosque near her home was too loud and that it hurt her ears, when she asked for the volume to be turned down. She is a Buddhist residing in Tanjung Balai, North Sumatra. Her cause received support recently from the nation’s largest Muslim social organization, Nahdlatul Ulam whose executive board said complaints about the volume of a mosque’s loudspeakers should not be considered blasphemy, after the Medan District Court in North Sumatra sentenced Meiliana, an Indonesian woman of Chinese descent to 18 months in prison for insulting Islam. “I don’t think a complaint about the volume of a mosque’s speakers is an expression of hate or hostility towards a certain group or religion,” Robikin Emhas, the board’s head of legal affairs and human rights, said in a statement on 8/21 reported by state-run news agency Antara.