Religious leader protection bill sparks debate in Indonesia

Uproar over Ahok

Indonesia’s Islamic-based Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) has succeeded in pushing a bill on the Protection of Religious Leaders and Religious Symbols.

Earlier this month, it was included on a list of 50 priority bills to be discussed next year. Two other Islamic-based parties in the government coalition, the United Development Party and the National Awakening Party, are supporting the bill.

Almuzzammil Yusuf, a PKS politician and member of the People’s Representative Council, Indonesia’s equivalent of a House of Representatives, says the bill is aimed at “preventing and deterring the intimidation, and persecution of ulemas and religious figures.”

“With this law, we hope that there will be no more criminalizing of religious leaders who give speeches in accordance with the teachings of their religion,” he said.

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