Christian Woman Faces Five Years in Jail for Taking Dog Into Mosque

A woman in Indonesia who brought a dog to a mosque is facing a jail term for blasphemy, regardless of doctors saying she needs psychiatric care. In a video recording of the incident, the Indonesian woman says she is a Catholic. She was arrested and charged with blasphemy by the police in the city of Bogor, south of Jakarta.

She entered the mosque with her dog and her shoes on and remonstrated with Muslim worshipers about the topic of her ex-husband's second marriage. Muslims believe that dogs are ritually unclean, and they remove their shoes before entering mosques.

In the video, the troubled woman makes it clear that her husband will be married at the mosque later in the day. She asks for explanations from the people in the mosque who have no idea of the alleged marriage plans.

According to Bogor police chief, Andi Mohammed Dicky Pastika, the woman was suspected to be blasphemy and that the investigation was continuing. The officer said evidence included testimony from five witnesses, video recording, and the woman's shoes. In Indonesia, blasphemy is a criminal offense with a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment.

The woman is still in detention at the police hospital, but doctors have suggested that she should be transferred to a psychiatric facility. The woman's identity has not been revealed. The hospital said sending her to a specialized facility will bring her closer to her family and make communication with her easier.

According to the Jakarta Post, a police spokesman said the woman's family had submitted letters from two hospitals saying she had a history of mental illness. The Police have announced that they will conduct a psychological assessment to verify the authenticity of the hospital statements.

Amnesty International believed the blasphemy case was absurd and unfortunate and stressed the need to reform Indonesia's blasphemy law, which is often used to persecute religious minorities.

According to Usman Hamid, the Amnesty’s executive director in Indonesia "her action may have felt insensitive but the problems can be resolved peacefully. The puppy was chased out of the mosque but died on Tuesday after it was hit by a car as members of an animal welfare group tried to capture it.

Last year, a Sumatra court sentenced a woman who complained about the volume of speakers in a mosque to 18 months' imprisonment for blasphemy. She was later released on parole in May.

Mobs burned and looted at least 14 Buddhist temples in Tanjung Balai, a coastal city in Sumatra, during riots in July 2016, following reports of the woman's remarks.

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