Indonesia TikToker jailed two years over pork video

Indonesia TikToker jailed two years over pork video
Indonesia TikToker jailed two years over pork video

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - JAKARTA — An Indonesian court has sentenced a woman to two years in jail for violating the country's blasphemy law after she posted a video on social media site TikTok in which she said a Muslim prayer before eating pork.

The court in the city of Palembang, on Sumatra island, found Lina Lutfiawati, 33, guilty of "inciting hatred" against religious individuals and groups.

She also faces a $16,245 (£13,155) fine. Her jail term may be extended by three months if she does not pay up.

Indonesia is the largest Muslim-majority nation in the world and the consumption of pork is strictly forbidden in Islam.

Lina Lutfiawati, who adopted the Indian name Lina Mukherjee due to her love of Bollywood movies, identifies as being Muslim according to court documents

The lifestyle influencer, who has more than two million TikTok followers, also runs a business in India.

In March, she posted a video where she uttered "Bismillah" — an Arabic prayer that means "in the name of God" — before eating crispy pork skin.

At the time, she was traveling in Bali, a tourist hotspot in Indonesia which, unlike the rest of the country, has a majority Hindu population. Lutfiawati said she tried pork out of curiosity.

After the trial, Lutfiawati told reporters that she was surprised with the verdict. "I know that I am wrong but I did not expect this punishment," she said on the local news station MetroTV.

The video got millions of views and was widely criticized, prompting another Indonesian to report her to the police for "knowingly eating pork skin as a Muslim".

Police charged Lutfiawati in May for disseminating hateful information, saying it was an act of hostility over ethnicity, religion, and race.

Many religious groups across the country also issued rulings calling the video blasphemous. They included the Ulema Council, Indonesia's top Muslim clerical body.

On Indonesian social media, the reaction to her jailing has so far been divided, with many praising the judge and calling her actions blasphemous. Others have criticized Lutfiawati's jail sentence, noting that the jail terms meted out for corruption cases are often much lower.

Critics have said Indonesia's strict blasphemy laws have been used to erode a long-standing reputation for tolerance and diversity in the Southeast Asian country.

In 2017, Jakarta's former governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, also known as Ahok, was jailed for almost two years over remarks that were said to have insulted Islam. — Agencies

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