Indonesian woman faces five years in jail for ‘blasphemy’ after taking dog into mosque

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
An Indonesian woman has been accused of blasphemy after taking a dog into a mosque (Need Pix/file photo)

A woman in Indonesia faces up to five years in jail after she was accused of blasphemy for taking a dog into a mosque.

A video circulating online in Muslim-majority country shows the dog running around a mosque in the West Java district of Bogor while the woman argues with shocked worshippers.

Many Muslims consider dogs to be impure.

In the video, the visibly distressed woman says she is Catholic and claims that her husband will be married in the mosque later that day.

She demands an explanation from people in the mosque who apparently have no idea about the purported wedding plans.

The dog was filmed running around a mosque in the West Java district of Bogor (Flickr)

The dog reportedly later died after being hit by a car.

Blasphemy is a criminal offence in Indonesia with a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

Human rights groups have long called for the abolition of the law, which is often used to persecute Christians and other religious minorities.

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The woman, whose identity has not been disclosed, was detained at a police hospital, where doctors recommended her transfer to a psychiatric facility.

Bogor police chief Andi Mochammad Dicky Pastika said the woman is a blasphemy suspect and an investigation is continuing.

"We will bring this case to the court," Mr Pastika said. "Even if later the results of the psychiatric examination say that she has psychiatric disorders, as referred to in Article 44 of the Criminal Code, let the judge decide it in court.”

Many Muslims consider dogs to be impure (Wikipedia/file photo)

Amnesty International said the blasphemy case is "unfortunate and absurd" and highlights why Indonesia's blasphemy law should be repealed.

"The state's priority should be her wellbeing. Her actions may have felt insensitive, but these issues can be resolved peacefully, it is not a matter for the courts," said Amnesty's executive director in Indonesia, Usman Hamid.

Last year a court in Sumatra sentenced a woman who complained about the volume of a mosque's loudspeakers to 18 months in prison for blasphemy. She was released on parole in May.

Mobs burned and ransacked at least 14 Buddhist temples in Tanjung Balai, a port town on Sumatra, in a riot in July 2016 following reports of the woman's comments.

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