A court in Indonesia sentenced a woman to two years in jail for alleged ‘blasphemy’. Lina Lutfiawati, a 33-year-old famous social media influencer, who has over 2 million followers on the Chinese short-form video hosting app TikTok, was found guilty of ‘inciting hatred’ for a video she posted on the social media site in March this year, wherein she was heard saying ‘bismillah’ (an Islamic prayer) before eating ‘crispy skin pork’.
Besides the jail term, the court also asked the TikToker to pay a fine of 250 million rupiah ($16,245 or Rs 13,48,111) failing which, her jail term would be extended by three months. Lina Lutfiawati is a lifestyle influencer, who has over two million TikTok followers.
She acquired the Indian name Lina Mukherjee owing to her love of Bollywood films. She also runs a business in India. Lina is a Muslim and pork consumption is strictly forbidden in Islam. Indonesia, a Muslim-majority country, forbids eating pork and those found guilty can also be tried under blasphemy laws.
Lina was reportedly travelling in Bali, Indonesia when she uploaded the TikTok video. The matter came to light in March after the video went viral. In the video, Lina could have been heard saying “Bismillah,” which translates to “in the name of God” in Arabic.
The video received millions of views and was highly condemned, prompting another Indonesian to report her to the police for “knowingly eating pork skin as a Muslim.” In May, an Indonesian court convicted Lina for disseminating hateful information. The court ruled that it was an act of hostility over ethnicity, religion, and race.
Many Islamist groups across the country, including the Ulema Council, Indonesia’s leading Muslim clerical body, issued rulings calling the video posted by Lina blasphemous. Lina’s case is the most recent in a long line of high-profile blasphemy convictions in Indonesia.
Last year, the Indonesian police had arrested six people after a bar named Holywings, promoted free alcohol, prohibited in Islam, for customers named Mohammed. Similarly, in 2017, an Indonesian court found Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, the then-Christian governor of the country’s capital, Jakarta, guilty of blasphemy and sentenced him to 2 years in jail over comments he made regarding what he believed to be the misinterpretation of certain verses of the Quran.