Meiliana crys during her sentencing. Photo courtesy of The Associated Press

Buddhist woman sentenced to jail for saying mosque speakers were too loud

A Buddhist woman of Chinese heritage, Meiliana, has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for asking a mosque to turn down its speakers because it was too loud. The courts found her guilty of blasphemy against Islam.  The Jakarta Post reports judge Wahyu Prasetyo Wibowo said,

“[We] declare that the defendant is legally and compellingly proven guilty of […] committing blasphemy against a certain religion that is professed in Indonesia.”

“[We] sentenced the defendant to one and a half years in prison.”

In 2016 Meiliana asked a mosque if they could turn down their speakers because the adhan was “too loud” and it “hurt her ears”. Meiliana was arrested for blasphemy against Islam.

Anti-Chinese riots ensued where many Buddhist temples were burned to the ground by rioters who were offended by what she said. 19 rioters were arrested and eight of them were found guilty of looting and destruction. Each of them got a sentence of one to four months in jail.

Indonesia is the most populous Muslim country in the world. It has seen an uprise in people getting jailed for blasphemy as more conservative parties take power.

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