Indonesian woman imprisoned for complaining Muslim call to prayer was too loud

MEDAN, Indonesia — A woman in Muslim-majority Indonesia is sentenced to 18 months in prison on Tuesday for complaining about the volume of a mosque’s call to prayer — the latest conviction under a controversial blasphemy law.

Meiliana, 44, an ethnic Chinese Buddhist, is found guilty of insulting Islam for asking her neighborhood mosque to lower its sound system because it was too loud and “hurt” her ears.

There are some 800,000 mosques across the archipelago, with the five-times-a-day call to prayer heard everywhere in the biggest cities and smallest towns.

Tuesday’s verdict will likely fuel fears that Indonesia’s moderate brand of Islam is coming under threat from increasingly influential radicals.

The court in the city of Medan on Sumatra island says the woman’s comments two years ago triggered riots that saw angry Muslim mobs ransack Buddhist temples.

Some ethnic Chinese in the area fled in fear.

The defendant’s lawyer says his client will appeal the decision.


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