The Jakarta News reported on 31 January that atheist Alexander Aan had been released early from his prison sentence of 2-1/2 years for „inciting religious hostility“ for posting on his personal Facebook page that „there is no god.“ According to the article, Aan was released „on license“ (probation), which means that he is required to report regularly and frequently to Indonesian authorities for the foreseeable future. He also still remains liable for a Rp 100 million rupiah (US$8,190) fine imposed as part of his sentence.
Atheist Alliance International (AAI) and other human rights groups, however, remain concerned that Alex is still in danger of being lynched by Muslim vigilante groups who believe that the Koran orders them to kill apostates. Several such group leaders in Indonesia publicly called for his death before he was incarcerated, there is no reason to believe that they have changed their minds since his sentencing. It is unknown whether Alex has been able to rejoin his wife and children yet, or whether it is even safe for him to do so. So it remains an open question whether Alex will be able to return to anything close to a normal life in Indonesia, let alone get a job to pay back his fine. AAI has been engaged with local and civil Indonesian authorities since Alex‘ arrest in 2010 to protect Alex‘ rights and secure him a fair trial, as well as to challenge the constitutionality of Article 28(2) of the Electronic Information and Transaction Law and Criminal Code articles 156a(a) and 156a(b), both of which were used to prosecute Alex and both of which are in direct violation of Articles 18 and 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, of which Indonesia is a signatory.
The primary issue here is individual’s right or freedom to his thoughts and faith (or lack of). Why is it the business of government to control or regulate one’s thoughts? Certainly, in a hypersensitive religious Indonesia, no one should be involved in any act of sectarian incitement which creates tension and flash points. I join the call to review the blasphemy laws if it is in design largely to protect the Moslem faith or community. Indonesia has to recognize the importance of diversity. All the high piety so visible in all aspects of government officials, is all farce when it comes to simple test of integrity – many are proven corruptors. Many of these are supposedly very religiious and pious. May better be an atheist and trustworthy?
Quite right. Religion should be a private thing. People have the right to believe or not believe. It has nothing to do with anyone other than the individual. I, personally, am not interested in anyones beliefs. So keep your religions to yourselves.
Morality does not just come from religion. I know plenty of Atheists from all different backgrounds who are fine, upstanding people. I also read about a lot of religious people from all denominations who do bad things. One of the key things about Atheism is that you must take responsibilities for your own actions. There is no gods will ect..