A Muslim-background Christian in Indonesia was sentenced to ten years in prison after being found guilty of “blasphemy” and hate speech by a court in West Java Province.
Muhammad Kace, formerly an Islamic cleric, was accused of making disparaging remarks about Muhammad, the prophet of Islam.
Kace’s lawyer argued that the sentence is too severe, and said that Kace would appeal.
Tight security was required at the court during sentencing, as thousands of Muslims gathered outside to protest against Kace.
Kace was arrested and imprisoned in August 2021 for his YouTube videos that critique Islam and its teachings.
On 26 August 2021 he was brutally beaten by several other prisoners, an attack that was allegedly covered up for several weeks by prison authorities.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo has taken steps to combat Islamism, including dissolving two hard-line Islamic organisations (Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia and the Islamic Defenders Front).
In recent years, however, Indonesia as a whole has seen a rise in hard-line Islamic ideology. In December 2021 almost 180,000 police officers were deployed to guard churches and public places against terrorist attack over the Christmas period.