Meiliana, a 44-year old ethnic Chinese Buddhist had complained the Muslim call to prayer, repeated five times a day, was being played too loudly at the mosque near her house in North Sumatra. Indonesia has the world’s largest population of Muslims and sizable Buddhist, Christian and other religious minorities. Recent years have seen a rise in conservative and hardline interpretations of Islam, prompting fears that the secular nation’s long-standing reputation for tolerance and diversity was being eroded.
“She had said something that insulted religion, in this case Islam,” said Jamaluddin, spokesman of the Medan district court, adding the defendant had “showed remorse and apologized”. Political activists have said the country’s stringent blasphemy laws are being used to bully minorities and violate religious freedoms.