Court to Stage Debate On Religious Freedom

February 5, 2010

Author: Ary Hermawan

Source: The Jakarta Post

The Constitutional Court will see one of its longest hearings as it becomes a forum for clerics, activists, pundits and artists to debate whether the country should revoke a 45-year-old blasphemy law to uphold freedom of religion.

The court opened Thursday the first hearing of a judicial review filed by a number of human rights groups against the 1965 Blasphemy Law, which they said was adverse to human rights principles and irrelevant to a democratic Indonesia.

The review has been strongly opposed by the government and major Muslim organizations  as well as hardline groups including the Islam Defender’s Front (FPI), whose members staged a rally outside the court Thursday.