April 20, 2010
Indonesia Keeps Blasphemy on the Books
Court rules that 1965 blasphemy law is constitutional.
Religious freedom observers held their breadth in February when activists successfully got Indonesia to reconsider its blasphemy law. But on Monday the nation's top court voted 8-1 that the 1965 law, which restricts citizens to observing one of only six religions and prohibits some interpretations of those religions, is indeed constitutional amid concerns of "social conflicts and animosity".
Indonesia has long been considered a model of religious pluralism, but has started to manifest religious tensions similar to its neighbor Malaysia. However, reports indicate that Christianity is growing in the world's largest Muslim nation, though even Muslim human rights watchdogs say Christians are most affected by religious freedom violations encouraged by laws such as the still-in-place blasphemy law.