Atheist faces jail after Facebook remark

An Indonesian civil servant who declared himself an atheist on Facebook was arrested and is now facing jail for blasphemy after being attacked by an angry mob, police said today.

Alexander An, 30, who wrote "God doesn't exist" on his Facebook page, was beaten by a mob of dozens on Wednesday in his hometown in Pulau Punjung, West Sumatra province.

"He is suspected of having blasphemed against Islam," local police chief Chairul Aziz told AFP.

"The man told police investigators that if God really exists and has absolute power, why didn't he prevent bad things from happening in this world."

An said on his Facebook page that he was brought up as a Muslim, like the vast majority in Indonesia, where blasphemy is a punishable crime carrying a maximum five-year prison term.

Dozens of locals stormed into his office after a heated debate with them on Facebook over religion, police said.

An was also an administrator of a Facebook group promoting atheism with 1243 followers. His postings no longer appeared online following his arrest.

Date published: January 20, 2012 9:47PM
Date retrieved: January 22, 2012 23:54 PST

Views: 474

Comment by Okinawa R. on January 24, 2012 at 4:31am

@archaeopteryx, do understand the difference between a criticism with insults and after that, know that there's a law for those who make/announce insults towards any religion in Indonesia.

thus now, we get back again to the news...this guy arrested for making an insults...lets see if i'm able to retrieve some of what the guy wrote tho give me some time for it since i'm in middle of something atm :3

Comment by JC Hamner on January 24, 2012 at 5:01am

Okay, are there any Muslim-majority societies where laws like this and fundamentalist actions like this are not supported? From opinion poll data regarding suicide bombing in one of Sam Harris' books, Indonesia came out as one of, if not the most moderate Islamic nation(s).

Not to argue with you @archaeopteryx, but the term Muslim community really stands out in your earlier post. It wouldn't make (tactical) sense to seem outwardly hostile to a society that is in blatant opposition to your beliefs, that is, if your form of hostility includes homicide/suicide/mob assault. Some anti-theists do it in first world Christian-majority nations, because they won't do anything worse than argue vehemently, and they have little or no reason to expect much more in response from most Christians, outside of threats of violence. My question is what are their actual feelings, and what are they teaching their children in their little spiritual Mecca satellite? My refrain that I always come back to is that if it exists in a dogmatic text, then any pocket holding that as their holy book has the potential to act upon the teachings within. And the Koran and the Hadith have been proven to inspire extreme oppression and holy war.

Comment by Okinawa R. on January 24, 2012 at 8:41am

i get what you mean, but while you're able to say anything that you like...the laws sets by the government are clear.

while i can say the law over here are...biased in practice most of the times, the theory is not.

sure, being an atheist grant us freedom to insult god and other fairies; but that doesn't make us look better than the theist especially when we are trying to grow.

shouldn't we use our brain better ? insults doesn't really offer any help for our status.

and i cant find the posts that guy made...guess he/another person in the admin position of the group delete them or something @_@

Comment by Judith van der Roos on January 24, 2012 at 10:14am

archaeopteryx Funny how people often "Muslims they know are quiet, unassuming, peace-loving people who would never harm anyone for believing differently from themselves" right up until they mob some poor bastard for merely expressing an opinion they have. The other line we often see is "Not all the fingers of the hand are the same" even though all those fingers so often go to making up the fist of oppression from muslims. I am with Albert here. Islam is inherently  fascist, any religion would be if it could, it is in the nature of them, plenty of historical evidence for that !

Judith vd R

Comment by TM Kaiser on January 24, 2012 at 12:50pm

"An was also an administrator of a Facebook group promoting atheism with 1243 followers. His postings no longer appeared online following his arrest."

Who took it down? And how?

Comment by Barry Eckert on January 24, 2012 at 4:35pm


Islamofascists Barry? How about religiofascists? You may remember that little picnic they called the Inquisition --

I like being specific. I also use the term christofascist. Haven't used taofascist as it hasn't been necessary.

Comment by Barry Eckert on January 24, 2012 at 4:50pm

So his crime wasn't merely being atheist, it was that he was insulting. Hmm. If any of the religious right nutjobs come to power, my days are numbered.

The defendant is an atheist! [gasp from the jury/mob] He is a homosexual! [judge scowls at me] And, he... he.. Oh dear Jesus help me say it... he is sarcastic!!! [bailiff shoots me in the head]

Comment by Barry Eckert on January 24, 2012 at 10:35pm

@ archaeopteryx lol yeah


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