As a follow up to my earlier post on this topic, Indonesia’s Constitutional Court has recently upheld the nation’s controversial anti-blasphemy law. To quote Chris Blake from the Associated Press, “The court ruled…that the 1965 law, which allows for criminal penalties and bans on people or groups that “distort” the central tenets of six officially recognized religions, was in line with the constutition and was vital to religious harmony.” The decision was 8-1. The majority said its job was to prevent the desecration of religions. Supporters of the law said defeat would permit deviant interpretations of Islam.
Critics said the law was vague, intolerant, and provides license for government. They also say the law violated basic freedom of religion principles. Indeed the dissenting judge said that the law could lead to discrimination and was written during a period when Indonesia’s dictatorial rulers were concerned about social disorder.