Indonesian Publisher Holds Book Burning for Text That Allegedly Defames Islam
Indonesian publisher Gramedia Pustaka Utama burned hundreds of copies of a book that called the Prophet Muhammad a pirate and a murderer on Wednesday following protests by the hard-line Islamic Defenders Front.
The books were burned outside the Bentara Budaya cultural
hall in the Kompas Gramedia complex in Palmerah, West Jakarta. Company president director Wandi S. Brata oversaw the book burning, along with
several Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) officials, including deputy
chairman Ma’ruf Amin.
The book, “Lima Kota Paling Berpengaruh di Dunia” (“Five Cities that Ruled the World”), was pulled from Indonesian book stores on June 9. The text, written by US theologian Douglas Wilson, explores how five cities — New York, Jerusalem, Athens, Rome and London — shaped the world.
In the book, the author alleged that the Prophet Muhammad was a marauder and a pirate who attacked merchants and caravans, according to the FPI. The FPI filed a complaint with police, saying that Gramedia had defamed Islam by publishing the book.
The Islamist organization also claimed that the book was still on sale in Indonesia a day after it was recalled.
“Page 24 of the book contains words that are an insult to Rasulullah
FPI spokesman Munarman said. “This is a crime of formal offense; withdrawing the books
is not enough. Rasulullah is a symbol in Islamic teachings, and
defaming religions is a crime according to the Criminal Code.”
It is against the law in Indonesia to publish materials that are
considered libelous toward a certain religion, ethnicity or nationality.
Offenders face up to five years in prison and Rp 4,500 ($0.47) in fines
under Article 156 of the Criminal Code.
Gramedia publicly apologized in the Indonesian newspaper Republika last weekend for publishing the book.