You know how we keep being told that Indonesia is an example of a country where Islam is the majority religion but is not oppressive?
The Jakarta Post has defended the publication of a cartoon criticising Islamic State (IS) militants, after its editor was named in a defamation case.
The cartoon shows a flag similar to ones used by IS with the words “there is no God but Allah”, and a skull and crossbones.
That is, the IS flag has the words “there is no God but Allah” and a plain oval; the cartoon made the plain oval a skull and crossbones.
Published on 3 July, the cartoon replaces the oval shape on the original flag with a skull and crossbones but leaves the Arabic religious phrase “Laa ilaaha illallaah”, meaning “there is no God but Allah”.
It also shows the words Allah and Muhammad, which are sacred to Muslims and found on IS flags, inside the skull shape.
The Post, a leading English-language daily, said the cartoon was meant as a critique of the use of religious symbols in acts of violence.
Well we can’t have that, now can we. People might start to think that happens a lot, or something equally alarming and improper.
But some Muslim groups said the cartoon was offensive towards Islam. The Post apologised and retracted the cartoon on 8 July, saying it regretted the “error in judgement”.
On Thursday, police named the Jakarta Post’s editor-in-chief, Meidyatama Suryodiningrat, a suspect for religious defamation.
“We are amazed because the fact is we did not commit a criminal act as accused,” the newspaper responded in a statement on Thursday.
“Religious defamation” – i.e. the nonsense idea that it’s possible to “defame” religion. In Indonesia the police are enforcing this nonsense idea.
A police spokesman told the BBC Mr Suryodiningrat could be summoned next week. He could be facing five years in prison for religious blasphemy.
So how is Indonesia an example of a country where Islam is the majority religion but is not oppressive? I don’t see it, myself.