| 3 December 2023, Sunday |

Indonesia: TikToker jailed for two years over pork video

An Indonesian court has sentenced a woman to two years in jail for posting a viral TikTok video where she said an Islamic phrase before eating pork.

Lina Lutfiawati, 33, was found guilty of “inciting hatred” against religious individuals and groups.

She also faces a $16,245 (£13,155) fine. Her jail term may be extended by three months if she does not pay up.

It is the latest in a series of cases involving controversial blasphemy laws in Muslim-majority Indonesia.

Lina Lutfiawati, who adopted the Indian name Lina Mukherjee due to her love of Bollywood movies, identifies as Muslim. The consumption of pork is strictly forbidden in Islam.

The lifestyle influencer, who has more than two million TikTok followers, also runs a business in India.

In March, she posted a video where she uttered “Bismillah” – an Arabic phrase that means “in the name of God” – before eating crispy pork skin.

At the time, she was travelling in Bali, a tourist hotspot in Indonesia that, unlike the rest of the country, has a majority Hindu population. Ms Lutfiawati said she tried pork out of curiosity.

The video got millions of views and was widely criticised, prompting another Indonesian to report her to the police for “knowingly eating pork skin as a Muslim”.

Police charged Ms Lutfiawati in May for disseminating hateful information, saying it was an act of hostility over ethnicity, religion, and race.

Many conservative groups across the country also issued rulings calling the video blasphemous. They included the Ulema Council, Indonesia’s top Muslim clerical body.

On Indonesian social media, the reaction to her jailing has so far been divided, with many praising the judge and calling her actions blasphemous. Others have criticised Ms Lutfiawati’s jail sentence, noting that the jail terms meted out for corruption cases are often much lower.

Rights groups and activists in Indonesia have long criticised the blasphemy laws, which they say are frequently misused to target religious minorities.

Indonesian police last year arrested six people after a bar promoted free alcohol – prohibited in Islam – for customers named Mohammed.

In 2017, Jakarta’s former governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, also known as Ahok, was jailed for almost two years over remarks that were said to have insulted Islam