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Jakarta Post

Commentary: Is there room for atheists in Indonesia?

  • Endy Bayuni

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, June 18 2012   /  10:15 am

Endy Bayuni

The Jakarta Post/Jakarta

Atheists in Indonesia will have to stay underground for now and probably for the foreseeable future.

Even with the rapid development of social media that allows those who don’t believe in the existence of God to get connected and discuss their beliefs more openly, there is no guarantee that they would be safe from the wrath of radical religious groups, or even from the long arm of the state if they come out of the closet.

A court in West Sumatra last week sent Alexander Aan, a 30-year- old civil servant and a self-confessed atheist, to two-and-half years in jail. He was not convicted under the country’s blasphemy law, although it was one of the two charges brought against him.

Instead, he was found guilty of violating the 2008 cyber crimes law. His crime was spreading his atheist beliefs through his Facebook ac...