As so often, ‘blasphemy’ is the excuse.
A Muslim mob burned churches and clashed with police in Indonesia on Tuesday as they demanded the death penalty for a Christian man convicted of blaspheming against Islam, police said. Two days after a Muslim lynch mob killed three members of a minority Islamic sect, crowds of furious Muslims set two churches alight as they rampaged in anger over the prison sentence imposed on defendant Antonius Bawengan, 58.
A court in the Central Java town had earlier sentenced the man to five years in jail, the maximum allowable, for distributing leaflets insulting Islam. But this only enraged the crowd, who said the sentence was too lenient, police said.
And that minority Muslim sect?
The latest outbreak of religious violence in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country came as pressure mounted on the government to tackle religious extremism and demonstrate its oft-touted commitment to diversity.
Leading international human rights groups condemned Sunday’s bloody onslaught on the Ahmadiyah Muslim sect in West Java and demanded an immediate investigation into why police failed to stop the lynch mob…Indonesia’s constitution explicitly guarantees freedom of religion. But under pressure from Islamic conservatives, the government in 2008 banned the Ahmadiyah from spreading their faith.
Earlier in the article, we learn this:
US President Barack Obama visited Indonesia in November and praised its “spirit of religious tolerance” as an “example to the world”.