Recently, the discourse of religious digression and desecration is like a snowball that can hit everyone whose view and practices are seen as deviating from the mainstream. In 2009, there were 25 cases of digression, found not only in Islamic but also other groups. Unfortunately, in seeing this phenomenon, the community and the government do not separate the discourse on religious desecration from the criminal acts that follow.Â Police and government officials do not seem to separate them, either.
This seems to be made legitimate by the existing Indonesian legal drafting on religious desecration and police's monitoring of faiths considered to be deviating. On the other hand, there is strong constitutional support on freedom of religion and worship according to oneâ€™s religion and faith.
â€œThe complication of fulfilling religious freedom rights for splinter groups lies in the article on religious desecration in our law, namely PNPS No. 1/1965 that allows cases in religious disgression,Â desecration or blasphemy to be brought to court,â€ explained Zainal Abidin Bagir, Ph.D., Director of Center for Religious and Cross-Cultural Studies (CRCS), UGM, Monday (1/2), delivering the Annual Report of Religious Life in Indonesia 2009 at UGM Graduate School.
Bagir said that the Law -- PNPS No. 1 Year 1965 â€“ is truly a seriousÂ block in fulfilling and protecting religious freedom in Indonesia. In his opinion, Indonesia as a democratic country should notÂ criminalize religious teaching. The similar opinion was also expressed by Ifdal Kasim, Chairman of National Commission of Indonesian Human Rights who considered that PNPS No.1/1965 is actually not needed. Ifdal said that there are articles in the Criminal Code that can be used to take action against perpetrators of religious defamation or desecration as well as to protect citizenâ€™s religious rights.
K.H. Salahudin Wahid, the administrator of Tebu Ireng Islamic boarding school in Jombang, said that the laws and regulations are still not well-understood, thus giving opportunity for violations. He added that people and law enforcers should better understand the laws.