If the man, identified as Alexander Aan, fails to “repent” and accept one of the six accepted religions of Indonesia, he could face up to five years in prison, as well as losing his job.
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.
Jakarta Globe quotes Aan as saying:
“If God indeed exists, why do bad things happen,” he was quoted as saying. “There should only be good things if God is merciful.”
Alexander said he was born a Muslim but ceased religious activities in 2008.
“I have no idea what the problem is. When I arrived at the office, a mob came and beat me, and took me to the police.”
Maryam Namazie shared an email on her blog, which asked for support for Aan. According to the email, he exercised his right to free speech in a democratic country by openly questioning God’s existence and criticizing Islam. Unfortunately, questioning religion is illegal in Indonesia.
The group’s Facebook webpage states:
Please support Alexander Aan, who is at this very moment sitting in an Indonesian prison cell for questioning Islam and the existence of god on his Facebook wall. This is an actual CRIME in Indonesia. If he is convicted, he will be killed in prison. If he is not convicted, he will be killed outside of prison by religious fanatics, police or the FPI.
Namazie also requests that we all rally to support Aan, through the Facebook page, and his right to free speech as a human being. I would also like to add the human right to freedom FROM religion as well. No one should be forced to chose a religion or believe something they do not. It is a human right and not just part of the U.S. Constitution that human are allowed freedom of religion or no religion, as well as free speech, without coercion to believe something they do not.
Atheism and freethought in general, should not be illegal, but a human right not to believe in a god, especially if one sees no evidence for a god. At the same time, if one chooses Wiccan, Paganism, or Pantheism as their religion, they should have that right as human beings. Everyone should have the freedom to believe as they want, as long as it is not harming anyone.