by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) - A Christian in Indonesia has been sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for uploading Youtube videos that were critical of Islam, his former faith, Christian Today (CT) reports.
Muhammad Kace, who was a Muslim cleric until he put his faith in Christ in 2014, was handed the 10-year jail term by the Ciamis District Court in West Java this week, CT reports. He was arrested in Bali in August last year after Muslim groups complained to Indonesian authorities that he had insulted the prophet Muhammad by posting a video himself saying: "Muhammad is unknown by God and is only known by his followers because he is surrounded by devils."
According to prosecutors, Kace had uploaded 400 videos that were insulting to Islam, with the express intention of stirring unrest. "This is outrageous, so it warrants a stiff sentence," chief prosecutor Syahnan Tanjung was quoted as telling the court.
Rights groups have long raised the alarm over harsh blasphemy laws in Islamic countries. "The Indonesian government should promptly repeal the blasphemy law," Andreas Harsono, a senior researcher for Human Rights Watch Indonesia, told International Christian Concern. Kace reportedly plans to appeal his sentence.
In a separate statement on Kace’s case: Timothy Carothers, ICC's advocacy manager for Southeast Asia, said: "The right to speak one's mind is essential and must be protected. This sort of treatment and punishment under Indonesian law is a shameful reality. As long as Indonesia continues to enforce religious harmony through regulation and prosecution, it will continue to achieve the opposite."
A Muslim majority country, Indonesia ranks 28th on the US Open Doors Watch List 2022 of the top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted.