Indonesian Activist Charged for Highlighting Christian Persecution

01/10/2020 Indonesia (International Christian Concern) – Indonesian activist Sudarto reported on the banning of Christmas celebrations in West Sumatra, a conservative Muslim province. According to his lawyer, he has since been charged under a controversial “hate speech” law.

Sudarto reported on a small Catholic community in West Sumatra that had been banned from performing mass for the second year in a row. The local government did now allow them to hold non-Islamic services unless they were done so in a church. However, with the nearest church building being over 100km away, they were unable to worship.

Now, he is being charged for sharing the plight of Christians in Indonesia’s more conservative regions. The lawyer told AFP, “the post was made based on evidence and facts, but the law is very subjective”. The law applies to electronic information but is widely criticized for being too vague and allowing for misuse.

The story of the Catholic community went viral around Christmas and resulted in Indonesia’s religious affairs ministry to order the West Sumatra officials to permit their Christmas worship service.

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