Sukmawati Soekarnoputri reported to police for blasphemy in speech allegedly comparing Soekarno to Prophet Muhammad

Video screengrab showing Sukmawati Soekarnoputri delivering a speech on nationalism in Jakarta on Nov 14, 2019.
Video screengrab showing Sukmawati Soekarnoputri delivering a speech on nationalism in Jakarta on Nov 14, 2019.

Sukmawati Soekarnoputri, the daughter of first president and founding father Soekarno, has, once again, been reported to the police for allegedly committing blasphemy against Islam.

On Thursday, Sukmawati was speaking at a discussion event in Jakarta on building nationalism to combat radicalism and terrorism. A video showing a portion of her speech has gone viral, in which some Islamic groups in Indonesia said she compared her father to the Islamic Prophet Muhammad.

“Which is better, Pancasila (Indonesia’s founding principles) or the Quran? Now I want to ask all of you. Who fought for [Indonesia’s] independence in the 20th century, the noble Prophet Muhammad or Soekarno?” Sukmawati said to the audience.

Sukmawati’s statement did not go down well at all with Islamic groups. In the interview with TV One above, Novel Bamukmin, secretary general of an Islamic organization named Defend Islam Coordinators (Korlabi), said they have reported Sukmawati to the police on suspicion of blasphemy, adding, “she suffers from Islamophobia.”

The Jakarta Metro Police confirmed that official complaints have been lodged against Sukmawati, one of which was from Korlabi. 

“[The complaint said that] the accused said her father, as the first president of Indonesia, had more merit compared to Prophet Muhammad in the 20th century,” Jakarta Metro Police Spokesman Argo Yuwono said in a statement on Saturday.

Argo said that complainants demanded that Sukmawati be charged with violation of Article 156A of the Criminal Code, which states that hate speech or blasphemy against a religion is a crime punishable by up to five years in prison.

For her part, Sukmawati said she’s not bothered by the complaints against her because she said that her whole speech has been cut to fit the narrative that she blasphemed Islam.

“I was not comparing, and I did not say anything about merit [Soekarno and Muhammad had for Indonesia],” Sukmawati told CNN Indonesia.

Sukmawati is no stranger to religious controversy in Indonesia. Last year, Islamic groups threatened to report her to the police for blasphemy over a poem she wrote, in which she celebrates Indonesian fashion and tradition and compared them to Middle Eastern and Islamic traditions many have adopted in the country. The matter was legally resolved after Sukmawati issued a tearful public apology to Muslims in Indonesia.

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