A Catholic group in Indonesia has filed charges against an Islamic leader for insulting Christianity. Islamic hardliner Habib Rizieq has been accused of blasphemy by Catholics under section A of Article 156 of the Constitution, Herald Malaysia said.

In a videotaped sermon, the founder of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) said, “If God had a son, then who was the midwife?” He said it was wrong to greet Muslims “Merry Christmas” since it was saying happy birthday to the child of God. His speech was posted online and went viral on social media. Christians took offense at his statement.

The Indonesian Catholic Students Association (PMKRI) decided to file charges against Rizieq and two others who uploaded the video. PMKRI president Angelius Wake Kako said, “We felt insulted and hurt by the hate statement from Habib Rizieq. It mirrored the lack of tolerance towards diversity in Indonesia, which has been nourished by our ancestors and by us.”

The Catholic leader said, every Indonesian “should respect diversity and not interfere in the private affairs of other religions. Only Christians know the Christian faith. It is better for all those who do not have that knowledge to be silent.”

According to Sydney Morning Herald, police authorities in Jakarta will investigate the incident. “It will be studied to determine whether a crime has taken place,” said Jakarta Police spokesman Argo Yuwono.

For months, Rizieq has been criticizing and accusing the Christian governor of Jakarta, Basuki Purnama Tjahaja, known as Ahok, of insulting the Koran and the Islamic faith. He has organized mass demonstrations to demand the politician’s conviction. The Court of North Jakarta is hearing proceedings against the politician.

Heraldmalaysiacom. (2017). Herald Malaysia Online. http://www.heraldmalaysia.com/news/from-accuser-to-accused-radical-muslim-leader-charged-with-insulting-christianity/33959/1

Jewel topsfield. (2016). The Sydney Morning Herald. http://www.smh.com.au/world/indonesian-blasphemy-saga-islamic-hardliner-accused-of-insulting-christianity-20161227-gtifue.html

Joyce has more than 15 years experience writing news, industry articles and blogs for the private and public sectors. Most of her career was spent writing technical documentation for a software company in the Philippines. She earned a B.A. in Communication Arts with a concentration in writing from the University of the Philippines, Los Baños. During her leisure time, Joyce pursues her interest in reading fiction and playing with her dogs. She can be contacted at Joyce@onechristianvoice.com.
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