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Jakarta Post

Court to stage debate on religious freedom

  • Ary Hermawan

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, February 5 2010   /  09:22 am

The Constitutional Court will see one of its longest hearings as it becomes a forum for clerics, activists, pundits and artists to debate whether the country should revoke a 45-year-old blasphemy law to uphold freedom of religion. The court opened Thursday the first hearing of a judicial review filed by a number of human rights groups against the 1965 Blasphemy Law, which they said was adverse to human rights principles and irrelevant to a democratic Indonesia.The review has been strongly opposed by the government and major Muslim organizations  as well as hardline groups including the Islam Defender’s Front (FPI), whose members staged a rally outside the court Thursday.The court is set to present 31 experts, including sociologist Imam Prasodjo, poet Emha Ainun Nadjib, novelist Andrea Hirata and filmmaker Garin Nugroho, to share their opinions on the issue. “The examination will...