Indonesia Jails Christian YouTuber For 10 Years
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
JAKARTA (Worthy News) – Christians urged prayers Wednesday after a Muslim-background Christian was sentenced to ten years in prison for “blasphemy” and hate speech in Indonesia’s West Java Province.
Muhammad Kace, formerly an Islamic cleric, was accused of making disparaging remarks about Muhammad, the prophet of Islam. In published comments, his lawyer called the sentence too severe and said Kace would appeal.
Tight security was required at the court during sentencing, as thousands of Muslims gathered outside to protest against Kace, according to Christians familiar with the case.
Kace was arrested and jailed in August 2021 over his videos on the video-sharing YouTube site that criticize Islam and its teachings.
On August 26 last year, he was beaten by several other inmates, an attack that was allegedly covered up for several weeks by prison authorities, advocacy activists said.
The sentencing of the outspoken Christian ahead of Easter comes amid a rise in Islamic extremism in the world’s largest Muslim nation, Christians said.
In December 2021 someone 180,000 police officers were reportedly deployed to guard churches and public places against terrorist attacks over the Christmas period.
Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo pledged steps to combat Islamism, including dissolving two hard-line Islamic groups, Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia and the Islamic Defenders Front.
However, that has done little to ease tensions, noted Barnabas Fund, a Christian aid and advocacy group.
Barnabas Fund, which closely monitors the case, told Worthy News that it urged supporters to “pray for Muhammad Kace, that the Lord will strengthen him in this time of difficulty.”
The group prays that “blasphemy” laws in Indonesia won’t be misused “and that the work of Islamist extremists will come to nothing.”
It was not immediately clear Wednesday when and if the appeal would happen.
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