Muslim Cleric Arrested, Charged With Blasphemy, Hate Speech for Reportedly Insulting Christianity

Muslim Cleric Arrested, Charged With Blasphemy, Hate Speech for Reportedly Insulting Christianity

Indonesian police arrested a Muslim cleric Thursday and charged him with blasphemy for allegedly insulting Christians.

Muhammad Yahya Waloni, a former Protestant who became a Muslim in 2006 and later an imam, was detained while at his home in the national capital of Jakarta, Union of Catholic Asian News reports.

He is accused of calling the Bible “fictitious and false” in one of his sermons.

Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Rusdi Hartono said Waloni was charged with blasphemy and hate speech based on a complaint that was filed in April.

When asked why it took four months to arrest Waloni, Hartono remarked that the investigation needed time to pursue and that it’s ongoing.

His arrest comes just three days after a Muslim, who had converted to Christianity, was arrested over allegations that he had insulted Islam.

Muhammad Kace was arrested on Aug. 23 in Bali after he was accused of sharing videos on YouTube that insulted Islam and the Prophet Muhammad, according to UCA News.

In the videos, Kace reportedly said the prophet was “surrounded by devils and liars.”

Indonesia’s Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas recently called for tougher measures against people accused of committing blasphemy and hate speech.

“All are equal before the law. Therefore, there must be fair treatment in all cases, including blasphemy and hate speech,” he said.

But Philip Situmorang, spokesman of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia, said Christians are treated differently from others. 

“In cases of blasphemy, police and law enforcement officials must be fair instead of siding with a certain group,” Situmorang noted. “Christians have been arrested and brought to court in blasphemy cases, while those insulting Christianity or other religions have been left alone.”

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