(Big League Politics) – A new Android app has launched with the focus of allowing Muslims to report individuals who commit blasphemy, or insult Islam.
No, this is not a joke. The app, “Smart Pakem”, which launched in Indonesia last month at the request of the Indonesian government, will allow users and government officials to uphold Sharia law and target and report people who hold “misguided” beliefs in violation of Islamic law, which forbids insults of Islam, insults against the Prophet Mohammed, or the recognition of any other religion besides Islam.
Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world, with an estimated Muslim population of 207 million.
Indonesia’s criminal code prohibits blasphemy, which is defined as “the act or offense of speaking sacrilegiously about God or sacred things”.
The Code’s Article 156(a) targets those who deliberately, in public, “express feelings of hostility, hatred, or contempt against religion”. The penalty for violating Article 156(a) of Indonesia’s criminal code is a maximum of five years imprisonment.
Rajan Anandan, who serves as the VP of Google in south-east Asia, has not shown any resistance to the app, which is available in the Google app store.
The National Secular Society (NSS) has since written to Anadan requesting the Google not stock the app in the app store, arguing that the app will have negative consequences for religious minorities and will further minimize freedom of expression.
According to Human Rights Watch, 125 people were convicted of blasphemy in Indonesia between 2004 and 2014. 23 additional people have been convicted since 2014.
Stephen Evans, who serves as the chief executive of NSS said said Google’s decision to stock the Sharia app was “incongruous with Google’s mission statement” and “runs directly contrary to the democratic ideals which Google says it stands for”. Evans also said the app will “normalize restrictions on freedom of expression in Indonesia and elsewhere”.
NSS, which works to repeal blasphemy laws around the world, strongly condemned Indonesia’s blasphemy law.
“Indonesia’s blasphemy law is a morally unjustifiable tool of repression which should be repealed as soon as possible. While this law exists anyone who believes in free expression should make it as difficult as possible for the Indonesian government to enforce the law. Google has greatly benefited from the freedom to share information globally. We ask it and other multinational companies to consider whether they can in good conscience profit from the repression caused by governments’ crackdowns on free speech.”
Since the app’s launch in the Google app store, it has been flooded with one star reviews and criticisms by anti-Sharia and human rights advocates.
On November 29, 2018, investigative journalist Laura Loomer handcuffed herself to Twitter HQ in NYC after she was banned from Twitter for criticizing Sharia law. While handcuffed, Loomer argued “Twitter, Facebook, Apple, Google, Instagram, they are essentially upholding Sharia. Silicon Valley is essentially upholding Sharia when they decide to ban me for posting facts about Islam, when they decide to ban me for posting facts about Sharia law and criticizing an anti-Jewish Muslim Congresswoman.”