Indonesia: Christian politician in custody for allegedly insulting Islam in a tweet

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - A Christian politician in Indonesia is in custody after being arrested for a January 4 Twitter post that was deemed offensive to Islam, International Christian Concern (ICC) reports. Ferdinand Hutahaean, a Democrat Party politician, could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted of hate speech.

Hutahaean was arrested on January 10, after two people reported his tweet to Indonesian police, ICC said. The tweet reads: “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.”

Hutahaean posted a video, apologizing for his tweet, saying that it had been “an imaginary dialogue between my heart and mind” and had nothing to do with Islam, ICC reports. Nevertheless, the National Police’s Criminal Investigation Agency arrested him on suspicion of posting hate speech and put him in custody. He will be detained at the Police Headquarters Detention Center for the next 20 days, to prevent him from destroying evidence, even though he has not yet been charged.

ICC notes that Hutahaean is one of a growing number of Christians arrested and imprisoned for allegedly insulting Islam. “In Muslim-majority Indonesia, non-Muslims are easily targeted and charged of blasphemy in Indonesia, while Muslims committing similar offenses hardly receive any punishment for their actions,” ICC said in its report.

Indonesia ranked 47 on the US Open Doors Watch List 2021 of top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted. There are 33.2 million Christians among Indonesia’s population of 272 million.