An Indonesian man who’s believed to be out of the country has been named a suspect by the National Police (Polri) for allegedly posting blasphemous videos online, with the man having gone as far as claiming that he was a prophet.
Polri’s spokesman Rusdi Hartono said today that the suspect, Shindy Paul Soerjomoelyono — who goes by Jozeph Paul Zhang online — allegedly committed hate speech through his videos on YouTube, as well as making a number of statements that were considered blasphemous.
Among his controversial statements, Jozeph reportedly held a contest challenging the public to report him to authorities for claiming to be the 26th prophet in Islam. In mainstream Islamic beliefs, the Prophet Muhammad is the 25th prophet and believed to be the last messenger of God.
The statement has led Husin Shahab, a lawyer from a group called Cyber Indonesia, to file a police report over the weekend.
Jozeph’s statement has caused quite a stir in Indonesia, with many accusing him of blasphemy. Indonesia’s Information and Communications Ministry recently filed a request with YouTube to block at least seven of his videos on the platform, while reportedly scouring for other contents he may have put up online.
While Jozeph is believed to be in Germany after reportedly leaving Indonesia in 2018, as well as claiming to have renounced his Indonesian citizenship, the ministry stated that he could still be charged with the Information and Electronic Transactions Act (UU ITE).
Jozeph is now on Polri’s wanted list, and authorities say they will coordinate with Interpol to issue a Red Notice list for him. Hate speech under UU ITE and blasphemy under Indonesia’s Criminal Code (KUHP) could see Jozeph imprisoned for up to six years and/or subject to a fine of IDR1 billion (US$68,986), if convicted.