Indonesian atheist attacked, arrested for claiming God does not exist on Facebook


An Indonesian atheist was attacked and arrested for posting "God does not exist" on his Facebook page. He could face up to five years in prison, The Associated Press reported

The man, 31-year-old Alexander Aan, is a civil servant in the Dharmasraya regency of West Sumatra. He was arrested on Friday under charges of blasphemy for creating a Facebook fan page called Ateis Minang (Minang Atheist), which was ‘liked’ by over 1,700 Facebook users. 

The post caused a public uproar. A mob came to Aan's office at the Dharmasraya Development Planning Board on Wednesday and attacked him before he was taken into custody, according to the Jakarta Post

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“He has triggered unrest among local residents,” Dharmasraya Police Chief Chairul Azis told the Post on Friday. “He said he realized what he had said and was prepared to lose his job to defend his beliefs." 

Dharmasraya Regent Adi Gunawan told the Jakarta Post that he had not decided whether or not Alexander would be dismissed from his job, saying that he would wait for the legal process to make a decision. 

“I told him that there was no place in this country for his beliefs,” Gunawan said.

On the Facebook page, Aan wrote that he is an atheist of Minang descent from Muslim stronghold Padang in West Sumatra. However, he calls himself a Muslim on his identity card, the Post reported. 

Indonesia acknowledges six official religions — Islam, Protestant, Catholic, Hindu, Buddhism and Confucianism — but atheism is illegal, the AP reported. The nation, which has a population of 240 million, is predominantly Muslim.  

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