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TikTok Influencer Gets Two Years in Jail for Saying Islamic Prayer Before Eating Pork

Indonesian court found Lina Mukherjee guilty of ‘inciting hatred’ in viral video

A TikTok influencer will serve two years in jail as a result of a viral video in which she recited an Islamic prayer before eating pork.

Lina Mukherjee, whose real name is Lina Lutfiawati, was found guilty of “spread[ing] information that was intended to incite hate or individual/group enmity based on religion” by a court in the Indonesian city of Palembang on Sept. 19.

The 33-year-old was also fined 250 million rupiah (about $16,000). If she fails to pay the fine, her jail time could be extended by three months, according to South China Morning Post.

In March, Mukherjee posted a video on TikTok in which she says the Arabic phrase “Bismillah,” which translates to “in the name of God,” before biting into a crispy pork skin — a food strictly prohibited in Islam.

The Muslim influencer, who has over two million followers on TikTok, was in Bali at the time she made the video and said she wanted to try pork out of curiosity.

As the video racked up millions of views, one Indonesian reported Mukherjee to the police for “knowingly eating pork skin as a Muslim,” per BBC.

Mukherjee was charged by police in May for disseminating hateful information through an act of hostility regarding ethnicity, religion, and race.

“Many conservative groups across the country also issued rulings calling the video blasphemous. They included the Ulema Council, Indonesia’s top Muslim clerical body,” the outlet reports. “On Indonesian social media, the reaction to her jailing has so far been divided, with many praising the judge and calling her actions blasphemous. Others have criticised Ms Lutfiawati’s jail sentence, noting that the jail terms meted out for corruption cases are often much lower.”

After the trial, Mukherjee told local news station MetroTV, “I know that I am wrong but I did not expect this punishment,” per Reuters.

Indonesia, which boasts a population that is 87 percent Muslim, has seen an uptick in blasphemy cases in recent years.

A 2022 report from the U.S. State Department recounted how a Christian YouTuber was sentenced to 10 years for making disparaging comments about Islam in April of that year. Two months later, Jakarta police arrested six people on blasphemy charges for offering free alcohol to bar patrons.

“The blasphemy law has mostly been used against those deemed to have insulted Islam, including Jakarta’s former Christian governor Basuki ‘Ahok’ Purnama, who was sentenced to two years in prison in 2017 for blasphemy, on charges widely seen as politically motivated,” Reuters reports.

Osman Hamid, executive director of Amnesty International Indonesia, said the blasphemy portion of the country’s law has been misused against minorities and dissenters.

“It contravenes Indonesia’s international obligations in relation to respect and protection for freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief, freedom of opinion and expression,” he said, per Daily Mail.

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