An Indonesian woman may face criminal sanctions pending a mental health assessment after she caused chaos at a mosque by bringing her dog into the Islamic house of worship.
In a video taken yesterday, which has gone hugely viral in the country, a woman — still wearing her shoes — is seen carrying a small dog into a mosque in Sentul, Bogor as she loudly confronts several worshippers. The specifics of the dispute are not entirely clear, but the woman is heard screaming, “This is where my husband is getting married” while mosque goers tried to eject her from the building, seemingly offended that she let her unleashed dog run loose in the mosque.
The man in red — identified in other videos from the incident as a mosque caretaker — asked the woman what her religion was, to which she declared she’s a Catholic. The two then appear to shove and kick each other while chaos ensues as others try to stop them and catch the dog, which, at this point, seemed to have been running around in panic.
The video doesn’t show how the incident ended, but the Bogor Police say that officers soon arrived at the scene and apprehended the woman, who they have identified by her initials SM.
Police are now conducting a mental health assessment on SM as they said they have reason to believe she’s depressed.
“We will look into possible criminal charges, because this just happened today. After the [mental] examination, we will announce the charges,” Bogor Police Chief Andi M Dicky told Pojoksatu yesterday.
Animals are not allowed inside of mosques to maintain the house of worship’s sanctity. Many Muslims are especially averse to dogs due to the belief that they keep angels away and that contact with their saliva (among others) causes one to be impure.
As such, SM taking her dog into the mosque could see her fall afoul of Indonesia’s ambiguously-defined blasphemy law, which carries a potential sentence of at least five years in prison. Another possibility is that SM could be charged with creating a public disturbance with her action.
The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), the highest clerical body in Indonesia, has called for calm and asked Muslims not to be provoked in light of the video going viral.
“Maybe she did not know that dogs are animals with saliva that’s impure in Islam… Hopefully peace between religions in the Unitary State of Indonesia is not going to be disturbed by this incident. Even we aren’t certain that this was done deliberately to provoke unrest,” MUI Deputy Secretary General Tengku Zulkarnain told Pojoksatu.