06/29/2022 Indonesia (International Christian Concern) – A nightclub chain in Indonesia is facing backlash over what is being called a blasphemous marketing campaign. This incident is the latest example of the severity of Indonesia’s newly revamped blasphemy laws, which are often used to oppress religious minorities in the Muslim-majority country.
In an advertisement that has since been deleted, the club, Holywings, promised a free bottle of gin for men named Muhammad or women named Maria every Thursday as part of a promotion.
The strong backlash from the Indonesian public and government was mostly in response to the use of the name Muhammad in the campaign.
Alcohol, which is forbidden under Islamic law, is sold throughout Indonesia since it is technically a secular country. However, drinking is heavily frowned upon by conservative Muslims. The association of the Prophet Muhammad with drinking in the nightclub promotion was heavily frowned upon.
Following the post, several Islamic youth organizations reported the management of Holywings to the police for allegedly committing blasphemy. Other groups threatened to raid the chain’s locations.
During a televised press conference last Friday, the police presented six suspects involved in the running of the ad, including the creative director of Holywings and the head of its promotional team. They were dressed in orange shirts typically worn by criminal offenders in Indonesia. Their faces were covered.
The group was charged with multiple offenses, including blasphemy, and, if implicated, could face up to 10 years in prison.
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