Indonesian man faces 6 years in prison for saying mosque blared music in TikTok video

A screenshot of Kenneth William’s TikTok video as reposted by Instagram viral content aggregator @ndorobeii
A screenshot of Kenneth William’s TikTok video as reposted by Instagram viral content aggregator @ndorobeii

Police in Bandung have arrested a man over an alleged blasphemous TikTok video, in which the suspect allegedly mocked a mosque in the West Java capital.

In the video, which was uploaded by vlogger Kenneth William Saputra on his TikTok account, the suspect walked in front of a mosque before pointing out to the camera that the house of worship was inappropriately blaring some kind of dance music.

“I was going for a walk and then I heard this [music]. It turned out it’s coming from there (the mosque). Whoever is playing this music really has no morals,” Kenneth said in the video.

In a follow up video, Kenneth admitted that the mosque did not actually play music through a speaker and that he added the audio track himself. He fended off accusations of racism and blasphemy from other TikTok users, maintaining that he merely wanted to “educate” his audience that playing music through a mosque is inappropriate.

Police yesterday announced Kenneth’s arrest for blasphemy under the Information and Electronic Transactions Act (UU ITE), which could see him sentenced to six years in prison if found guilty.

Kenneth has apologized for his video and said that he only made it for his amusement.

Blasphemy is a serious crime in Indonesia, but vague wordings in its legislation has made it prone to be used as a political tool and to persecute religious minorities in recent years. Arguably the most infamous blasphemy conviction was given to former Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, a Christian of Chinese descent, who was sentenced to two years in prison in 2017 simply for warning the public not to trust officials who quote the Quran to convince them not to vote for non-Muslim politicians.

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