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Prison term sought for East Java Shia leader

July 06, 2012
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JAKARTA, Indonesia – Prosecutors in East Java on Wednesday (July 4th) requested a four-year-prison term for a local Shia Muslim leader on charges of blasphemy, The Jakarta Globe reported.

Tajul Muluk from the Sampang district of Madura Island has been detained since April following a police investigation that ultimately charged him with blasphemy, The Globe said.

More than 300 members of Tajul's Shia community were displaced when a mob of 500 attacked and burned houses, a boarding school and a place of worship in December, but no arrests have been made in that incident.

Indonesia's Shia community fell victim to 15 incidents of religious violence and discrimination in the first six months of 2012, a sharp increase from 10 incidents in 2011, The Globe said, citing the Jakarta-based Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace.

Earlier this year, Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali proclaimed Shia a deviant sect, and the East Java branch of the Indonesian Council of Ulema (MUI) did the same shortly after, according to the paper.

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