With his postings made on the Facebook Page, ‘Ateis Minang’ or the Minang Atheist, Alexander Aan sealed his fate. A post on Ateis Minang was created by Aan and at the time of had over 1,700 likes on it. The ‘offensive’ post has been removed from Ateis Minang, but the civil servant was beaten by a group of people and is now into protective custody.
31-year old Alexander Aan, works for the Indonesian government. Raised and bought up as a Muslim, Aan in 2008 came to a conclusion that God does not exist. It was exactly the same opinion, he posted on Facebook – the post which led him to be physically assaulted by a mob of dozens at a his office. According to Facebook, Aan also declared that he doesn’t believe in any diety or myths and was prepared to defend his beliefs – even at the cost of his job.
Being charged with defiling Islam and the Quran, Alexander faces over 5 years in prison. The Dharmasraya Police Chief, Sr.Comr.Chaidul Aziz said that by using passages from the Quran to denounce the existence of God, Aan has defiled the religion.
Atheism, under the law of the most populous Muslim country, Indonesia, is a violation of the founding principles of the country. Only six religions, Islam, Protestant, Catholic, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism are recognized by law and deemed okay to practice. If you don’t follow the above 6, you are by law punishable for blasphemy for over 5 years in jail.
This isn’t the first case of punishment for blasphemy in the Muslim world. The governor of Punjab, Pakistan Salman Taseer was shot last year after he said he would help an accused-blasphemer, Asia Bibi, to get justice. In Palestine, authorities arrested Waleed Hasayin on similar charges and he was jailed for life. He did however write a letter of apology to the government in hopes that he be released from jail.
The real question is how the authorities deal with Aan’s situation. Whatever happens to Aan now, in the world’s most dangerous country for atheists remains to be seen.