Students protest over Lia’s arrest

JAKARTA: Dozens of students from the Jakarta State Islamic University (UIN) protested in front of the Jakarta Police Headquarters on Thursday condemning the arrest, for blasphemy, of Lia Aminuddin, the leader of The Eden sect.

The students, organized under the banner of the Ciputat Student Forum (Formaci), carried banners and posters saying “reject violence in the name of religion”, and “stop discrimination towards the Eden community”.

Coordinator Kusnandar said that the protest was organized to support the freedom of religion and religious beliefs as stipulated in Article 29 of the Constitution.

“We believe that freedom of religion and religious beliefs are no longer protected by the state as mandated by the Constitution,” he was quoted by Antara as saying, while adding that they were there to make sure the Constitution was honored and the rally did not mean that he or his colleagues were necessarily Edenists.

“We also demand that the law that includes blasphemy be revoked because it is in contradiction to the Constitution,” Kusnandar said.

He emphasized that every person has the right to freedom of religion and no one, not the police or any other government institution, can deny that.

“Differences in religion should be resolved through dialogs, not repressive action. After all, Lia’s group was only conducting what they believed in, not blasphemy,” Kusnandar added.

Lia Aminuddin, or Lia Eden, as she is known to her followers, was arrested and declared a suspect for blasphemy of Islam on Dec. 28.

The devotees believe in the path to perennial philosophy. But it caused unrest when the leader declared herself the Holy Spirit and the mouthpiece of the archangel Gabriel.

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The Jakarta Post, Indonesia
Jan. 6, 2006

Religion News Blog posted this on Friday January 6, 2006.
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