Indonesia: Pastor risks further incarceration for criticizing Islam

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - A pastor in Indonesia who was previously imprisoned for posting a video of himself sharing the Gospel with a Muslim is again under police investigation for actions the government considers are insulting to Islam, International Christian Concern (ICC) reports.

Formerly a well-known Muslim apologist, Pastor Abraham Ben Moses was originally named Ibrahim Saifuddin, ICC said. The pastor was jailed from December 2017 to April 2019, and fined USD $3,565, for posting his evangelistic video.

Ben Moses has again upset Indonesia’s top Islamic clerical body the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) because he posted a viral video in which he says that certain verses from the Quran give rise to Muslim extremism and intolerance, ICC reports. He also called on mosques to quiet down their calls to prayer.

In a March 16 statement about the pastor’s video, the MUI said: “Police need to investigate this and block or remove his [social media] account because he is damaging interreligious relations as well as committing blasphemy.” Calling for harsh consequences for the pastor, the MUI also called on Muslims to let the police deal with the case. “We urge that police take action against the reverend, who must be punished severely,” MUI general secretary Amirsyah Tambunan said.

The US Open Doors advocacy group explained in a website statement: “Indonesian society has taken on a more conservative Islamic character, putting added pressure on Christians.”

Indonesia ranks 28th on the US Open Doors Watch List 2022 of the top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted.