Man Arrested for Declaring Atheism on Facebook

Indonesian civil servant faces up to 5 years for 'blasphemy'
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 21, 2012 3:24 PM CST
In Indonesia, post atheist Facebook messages at your own risk.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

(Newser) – Indonesian atheists, look out. An angry mob attacked a civil servant in Padang after he declared his atheism on Facebook, said police—who promptly arrested the civil servant. "He is suspected of having blasphemed against Islam," a police chief said of Alexander An, 30. "The man told police investigators that if God really exists and has absolute power, why didn't he prevent bad things from happening in this world."

Atheism remains unpopular in Indonesia, where blasphemy is punishable by up to 5 years in prison, AFP reports. An, who was raised Muslim like most Indonesians, had actually started an atheist Facebook group that had 1,243 followers. But his postings quickly disappeared after his arrest. (Read more atheism stories.)

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