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: 400

Tags: Atheism, Islam, Theocracy

Comment by archaeopteryx on January 23, 2012 at 4:29pm

Albert, no need for the bold, I get it. I misunderstood, thinking you were making a blanket statement about Muslims, but I can see now you meant these specific, fanatical Muslims, and I have no disagreement with that.

Clearly, this morning, I got up on the wrong side of the floor.

pax vobiscum,

Comment by Albert Bakker on January 23, 2012 at 4:42pm

Glad to have cleared that up. When I ever do something like that I hope you tell it to me and please don't hold back.

Comment by archaeopteryx on January 23, 2012 at 5:05pm

No problem, Albert - actually I've been pissing people off on every board I post on today, I'm thinking about going back to bed and starting all over again.

pax vobiscum,

Comment by Okinawa R. on January 23, 2012 at 11:48pm

i posted this up @ TA blog few days ago, while i havent update the news...just to make it clear, there's someone posting about what he wrote when he was in a discussion/argument where his post is plain insults; thus making some people searching about his information...which lead to this story.

and he's convicted because of what he wrote, and not because he's an atheist..tho in the eyes of the believer is the same...

Comment by archaeopteryx on January 24, 2012 at 12:07am

But in the eyes of the sane world, Okinawa, it's not.

If you want to believe that Mohammed was flown through the air, like Superman, to Jerusalem, then up to heaven, then back to Iran, that's your choice - the degree of your gullibility is no one's business but your own.

But others should be allowed their choices as well, without fear of punishment, and should further be allowed to say what they like about a religion that confirms that Mohammed did that - again, without fear of punishment.

If a religion can't withstand criticism, how strong could it be?

pax vobiscum,

Comment by Ed on January 24, 2012 at 12:14am

It might just take 500 years to get this crazy shite turned around.....

Comment by archaeopteryx on January 24, 2012 at 12:19am

The Mormon religion, Okinawa, is based on the word of one man, Joseph Smith, who claimed to have had a vision telling him where to find a book, made entirely of finely-hammered gold pages, written in a language he could only read with the aid of a pair of magic spectacles found with the book - both were hidden in a hole in an old tree. He dictated the entire book from behind a curtain, to his associates on the other side, who transcribed what he dictated. No one ever saw the book, and after the holy dictation, the book was "taken up."

Similarly, there's no confirmation of Mohammad's story either. But Mohammad was clever - he proclaimed himself the last prophet, so no one could come along and counter anything he said.

I have no issue with religious people believing anything they like, as long as they do so in full knowledge of all of the particulars regarding their religion that the religious powers-that-be try to keep their followers from learning. The Islamic religion seems bent on preventing anyone from saying anything against it, and I have a serious problem with that.

pax vobiscum,

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 archaeopteryx on January 24, 2012 at 6:20am

I'm not sure what you mean by, "your form of hostility," JC, but if I were a hostile person, I'd be unlikely to sign my posts, "pax vobiscum," peace be with you.

Yes, JC, I said I lived near a Muslim community. I'm not outwardly hostile to anyone whose beliefs are different from my own - to the beliefs, yes, to the people, no; but I'm an equal-opportunity atheist - I disavow all religions equally.

There are as many different kinds of Muslims as there are Christians, as well as different interpretations of the Quran and degrees of devotion. I know Jews who eat pork chops and Muslims who drink alcohol.

I've also known Muslims who came here to escape Islamic extremism, as well those who left here for their home country, because they didn't want their children raised in our permissive atmosphere.

The Bible has inspired a lot of oppression and holy wars as well.

If a violent nature lies within a person, it doesn't take a Bible or a Quran to set it off - a Marvel comic book could do it.

pax vobiscum,


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