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Jakarta Post

Antagonizing religious minorities

  • Endy M. Bayuni

    Asia Pacific Bulletin

Washington   /   Fri, March 11 2011   /  10:00 am

Blasphemy can be a deadly affair in Indonesia and Pakistan, two of Asia’s largest Muslim-majority countries. Triggered by allegations of blasphemy, virulent mob attacks against those perceived to have offended Islam have rocked the two countries in recent months.

While Indonesia and Pakistan have laws that specifically address issues of blasphemy, those unfortunate enough to be labeled blasphemers are rarely taken to court. Encouraged by, if not with tacit approval from, conservative Muslim leaders, Indonesian and Pakistani mobs have been taking the law into their own hands instead.

On Feb. 5, three Indonesian adherents of Ahmadiyah, a sect with origins in 19th-century British India and considered heretical by many Muslims, were killed when a mob raided their house in Pandeglang, a town in Banten province to the southwest of Jakarta.

This was the deadliest attac...