Indonesia woman irked by mosque noise convicted of blasphemy

Indonesia’s Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and religion but in recent years blasphemy cases have been filed against those perceived as offending Islam. (AFP)
Updated 21 August 2018
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Indonesia woman irked by mosque noise convicted of blasphemy

  • Prosecutors said the 44-year-old defendant violated the criminal code by committing blasphemy against Islam
  • The maximum sentence for blasphemy is two years

MEDAN, Indonesia: An Indonesian court has sentenced a woman who complained about a noisy mosque to 18 months in prison for blasphemy.
The ethnic Chinese woman, Meiliana, burst into tears as presiding Judge Wahyu Prasetyo Wibowo announced the sentence Tuesday. She was taken from the court in handcuffs.
Prosecutors said the 44-year-old defendant violated the criminal code by committing blasphemy against Islam, the dominant faith in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation.
Mobs burned and ransacked at least 14 Buddhist temples throughout Tanjung Balai, a port town on Sumatra, in a July 2016 riot following reports of Meiliana’s complaint about a mosque’s noisy loudspeakers.
The woman’s lawyer, Ranto Sibarani, said the sentence would be appealed. A conservative group, Islamic Community Forum, said Meilana’s sentence was too light.
The maximum sentence for blasphemy is two years.
Indonesia’s Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and religion but in recent years blasphemy cases have been filed against those perceived as offending Islam. The overwhelming majority end with guilty verdicts.
Last year, the minority Christian and ethnic Chinese governor of Jakarta, the capital, was convicted of blasphemy and imprisoned for two years after massive street protests over comments seized upon by his political opponents.
Judges imposed the sentence despite prosecutors downgrading the blasphemy charge to a lesser offense.


Barbados appoints Ambassador Rihanna

Updated 22 September 2018
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Barbados appoints Ambassador Rihanna

  • Rihanna's home country tasked her with promoting investment and tourism
  • The singer has scored 14 number-one singles on the US Billboard chart

NEW YORK: Rihanna is now Ambassador Rihanna, after her home country tasked her with promoting investment and tourism.
Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley said that Rihanna — real name Robyn Rihanna Fenty — has been conferred the title of ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary.
While the singer will not be formally accredited to another country, Mottley said that Rihanna — whose more colorful songs include “Bitch Better Have My Money” — would be in charge of bringing investment as well as encouraging education and tourism.
“I couldn’t be more proud to take on such a prestigious title in my home country. Every Barbadian is going to have to play their role in this current effort, and I’m ready and excited to take on the responsibility,” Rihanna said in a statement dated Thursday.
Rihanna, 30, grew up in a troubled home in Barbados and was propelled to fame after visiting US producer Evan Rogers recognized her talents.
The singer, who since achieving stardom has lived primarily in Los Angeles and New York, has scored 14 number-one singles on the US Billboard chart, more than any artist except The Beatles, Elvis Presley and Mariah Carey.