Dangerous sensitivities – Indonesia as a warning example for Europe

Guest post by Uka

Uka was born in Indonesia and currently lives in Germany. She defines herself as a secular liberal and actively promotes human rights and personal freedom.


A few months ago, France was confronted with the horrific barbaric murder of the teacher Samuel Paty. He was trying to stimulate a discussion among schoolchildren on the subject of freedom of expression on the basis of the well-known Muhammad cartoons. He paid for it with his life.

The particularly sad thing here, apart from the human tragedy, was the reaction of the British and German media. They did not position themselves clearly enough and did not stand by France when Emmanuel Macron spoke clearly and only earned hatred in the Islamic world. This is regrettable.

The fact that there is no other religion with such a readiness for violence proves that there is a problem here that must be clearly stated. It is a clear problem when Islamic organizations worldwide do not clearly distance themselves from such acts, even though the Koran says that we must not paint the image of Muhammad.

Terrorist actions like the one in France are intended to force non-Muslims to follow the rules of the Koran. This is unacceptable. Politicians must take a clear position here and stand united against this terror. This also includes a critical examination of Islamist organizations in Europe that plant these ideas in the minds of young people living here.

The fact that some people in Europe defend the Islamists’ outrage over the cartoons and consider Macron’s clear statement in which he puts secular values above religious dogma to be problematic is disturbing. It shows that a large number of people cannot distinguish between hate speech and criticism of religion. We should remember that for Muslims, Macron’s defense of secularism is a worse affront than what Donald Trump has ever done. However, any logically thinking individual should understand that this is not the case. Just because a large number of people are offended does not mean that a statement is hate speech.

A law based on sentiments is a source of mischief, whether it is a blasphemy law or a regular Hatespeech law. In the end, the state has to deal with nonsensical reports of sensitivities and loses sight of clearly measurable standards for good coexistence in a diversified society.

In my home country, Indonesia, it can be observed very well how a diverse and tolerant culture has been transformed by Islamist groups into a paranoid and unfree society under Islamic dogma in a short period of time using these very means.

For example, the popular Christian governor of Jakarta, Ahok, was jailed for saying, “Don’t be misled by people who use the Koran.” This statement was triggered by the assertion of Islamist groups that Muslims should not allow themselves to be ruled by Christians according to Al Maidah 51, when they realized that they had no chance against him in the election campaign. Here, the Islamists’ total claim to power pushes those of other faiths out of public office by invoking religious doctrine. This makes it impossible for people to live together peacefully and with equal rights.

In another case, a Buddhist woman complained about the call to prayer in the mosque. She was attacked by the Muslim mob and a Buddhist temple was set on fire. The people who set fire to the temple got 2 months in prison, while the Buddhist woman got 2 years in prison.

But Muslims also suffer under the rigid control of Islamists. For example, a Muslim was reported to the police because he claimed to have been visited by Mohammed in a dream. You have to imagine that you can go to jail for something that is beyond human control, such as dreams.

Some people support the blasphemy law in the name of mutual respect and religious harmony, but at what cost? Christians in Aceh, the only province in Indonesia where Sharia law applies, were banned from celebrating Christmas in the name of “preserving religious harmony.” In the name of preserving peaceful coexistence with people who cannot be appeased, freedom and human rights are at stake.

When a nation introduces a law to protect the feelings of some, favored people, there is bound to be injustice. Western countries are so far ahead of other regions in terms of human rights that it seems many have not understood that the right of minorities depends on freedom of expression. With all the hurt of feelings that everyone has to endure from time to time for that. This is the price of freedom.