Why is blasphemy such a serious offence in Indonesia? What do recent blasphemy cases have in common and where do they differ? Dr Dirk Tomsa discusses these issues and more with Dr Melissa Crouch in the latest episode of the Talking Indonesia podcast.

For more than a year, the Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SAFEnet) has been tracking the so-called Muslim Cyber Army (MCA), which stands accused of spreading hoax news and hate speech online. SAFEnet Regional Coordinator Damar Juniarto presents a detailed examination of the shadowy network.

On 9 May, judges sentenced Basuki ‘Ahok’ Tjahaja Purnama to two years in prison for blasphemy, surprising many, as prosecutors had not pursued a custodial sentence. Professor Simon Butt presents a legal analysis of the decision. What arguments did the court hear and what did it accept?

The conviction for blasphemy of former Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama was not a surprise, writes Professor Tim Lindsey. What was surprising was that the judges decided to follow the usual pattern in blasphemy cases when the case before them was so very unusual.

In a decision that shocked many, judges last week sentenced former Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama to two years in prison for blasphemy. Dr Stewart Fenwick, who recently completed a book on the Blasphemy Law, writes that the case demonstrates how the law and the courts can be exploited for political and religious purposes.

Anies Baswedan will be the next governor of Jakarta, following a bitterly fought campaign against Basuki ‘Ahok’ Tjahaja Purnama. Make no mistake, Professor Tim Lindsey writes, it was the mobilisation of racial and religious hatred achieved by his enemies that led to Ahok’s defeat in this election.

The fiercely contested Jakarta gubernatorial election has given rise to a cycle of charges and counter-charges between the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and its opponents. Abdil Mughis Mudhoffir and Rafiqa Qurrata Ayun write that this politicisation of criminal justice is doing serious damage to the rule of law.

Following the massive rallies against Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama over alleged blasphemy, one might assume that religion was the most important factor influencing the intended voting behaviour of Jakarta residents. But a study conducted by Nathanael Gratias Sumaktoyo demonstrates that it is not as dominant as the recent rallies suggest.

Apakah signifikansi “Aksi Bela Islam III” secara politik dan agama? Apakah besarnya demonstrasi tersebut adalah bukti lebih lanjut tentang penguatan konservatisme Islam di Indonesia? Associate Professor Greg Fealy menyajikan analisa mendalam tentang demo 2 Desember dan konsekuensinya bagi demokrasi Indonesia.

Police Chief Tito Karnavian has said that about AU$7.65 million was spent on security for the rallies to “defend Islam” on 4 November and 2 December. But as Ihsan Ali-Fauzi writes, these material costs are only part of the picture. Of far greater significance is that the protests have eroded the foundations of democracy and undermined the influence of “moderate” Muslim leaders.

What is the political and religious significance of the massive protest to “defend Islam” in Central Jakarta on 2 December? Does the huge turnout indicate a hardening of mainstream Muslim attitudes in Indonesia? Associate Professor Greg Fealy presents a comprehensive analysis of the events of 2 December and their consequences for Indonesian democracy.

Police declared Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, or Ahok, a suspect for blasphemy last week, following major protests from hard-line religious groups. How has the 1965 Blasphemy Law been used in democratic Indonesia? What type of behaviour is typically deemed blasphemous? Is Ahok likely to receive a fair trial? We spoke to Dr Melissa Crouch, who has published widely on the Blasphemy Law, about these questions and more.