UPI reports that an Indonesian civil servant who moderates a Facebook page for atheists was waylaid last Wednesday by a group of men when he reached his office at the Dharmasraya Development Planning Board. What has sparked the outrage is that he recently posted “God does not exist” on the Facebook page of the Minang Atheists.
What is apparently happening now is that the The West Sumatra Coordinating Agency to Supervise Religion and Beliefs and the Ministry of Religious Affairs will recommend whether to prosecute Alexander.
I cannot even begin to express how utterly insane it is to find that such an agency exists and has such powers. Apparently. The maximum term for blasphemy is five years.Beyond this agency others are pushing the issue as well. A Muslim leader in West Sumatra has said that if Alexander does not repent and join one of Indonesia’s six officially recognized religions he should be fired.
This is all a gross violation of a very basic human right, “Freedom of thought”. In the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which is legally binding on member states of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, freedom of thought is listed under Article 18. They have signed up to it and yet they openly ignore it (here is an example of that).
Alexander has also said he was an observant Muslim until 2008. But he came to the conclusion that there could not be a god because of the disaster in the world. So please do lend him your support and encouragement, there are some links below as a starting point.
This story in the News
- UPI story here
- BBC reports it here
- Jakarta Globe reports the story here
Links and background Information
“Indonesian Atheists” (or “IA”) was founded as an online Facebook community, or group, in October 2008. By now it has grown to more than 500 members. Indonesian non-believers were covered in an AFP news article in January 2009. Since 2011 IA is affiliated with Atheist Alliance International (http://atheistalliance.org/).