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September 22, 2023

TikToker jailed for reciting Muslim prayer before eating pork

A TikToker has been jailed for two years in Indonesia over a video of her reciting an Islamic prayer before eating pork, which has been widely condemned in the Muslim majority country.

In the video, Lina Mukherjee cringes as she utters a Muslim prayer that translates to ‘in the name of God’ before consuming crispy pork skin.

The 33-year-old was reported by a resident for the video, which racked up millions of views on the social media platform.

The influencer was found guilty of ‘spreading information aimed at inciting hatred against religious individuals and specific groups’ at a court in the city of Palembang.

Mukherjee, who is a self-proclaimed Muslim, was also handed a heavy fine for the clip, being ordered to pay 250 million rupiah (£13,000).

Indonesia is the largest Muslim-majority nation in the world and has strict blasphemy laws. Pork is considered ‘haram,’ or not permissible, under Islam.

After the trial, Lina told reporters that she was surprised with the verdict.

‘I know that I am wrong but I did not expect this punishment,’ Lina said on the local news station MetroTV.

Mukherjee received severe backlash for the video, which was posted in March, from conservative groups in the country.

Indonesia’s top Muslim clerical body, the Indonesian Ulema Council, ruled the video to be blasphemous.

The popular content creator has two TikTok accounts, the biggest with over 2.2million followers.

Hers is the latest high-profile case in a string of convictions for blasphemy in recent years.

Last year, six people were arrested after a bar chain promoted free alcohol for patrons named Mohammed.

And in 2017, the Christian former governor of Jakarta was put behind bars after being accused of insulting Islam, with the charges widely seen as politically motivated.

Human rights campaigners have heavily criticised the strict laws, arguing they disproportionately target minorities.

Usman Hamid, executive director of Amnesty International Indonesia, said the blasphemy article in Indonesian law has been abused to target minority groups and dissenters.

‘It contravenes Indonesia’s international obligations in relation to respect and protection for freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief, freedom of opinion and expression,’ he said.

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