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Indonesia arrests man on 'mission to abolish Islam'

Jannes Kilon Diaz claimed to be a prophet but the police have not revealed his religion
Jannes Kilon Diaz appeared in a video where he claimed to be a prophet with a mission to abolish Islam.

Jannes Kilon Diaz appeared in a video where he claimed to be a prophet with a mission to abolish Islam. (Photo:  Supplied)

Published: March 21, 2024 12:00 PM GMT
Updated: March 21, 2024 12:07 PM GMT

The Indonesian police have arrested a man who claimed to be a prophet with a mission to abolish Islam.

Police in North Sumatra province picked up Jannes Kilon Diaz, 39, after a video of his statement went viral on social media. It sparked protests from Muslim groups.

Andreas Tampubolon, police chief in Tebing Tinggi Regency, said Diaz became a suspect on March 20 after his arrest a day before.

Tampubolon said police have unearthed evidence, such as a pulpit, tripod, robes, and papers containing the narrative read in the video. The police have also seized the cell phone that was used for filming the video, he added.

Diaz is charged under the Law on Electronic Transaction Information for uttering hate speech.

The police, however, have not revealed his religion.

In the video posted on social media, Diaz claimed he was a "prophet."

"I am a prophet who has super telepathic miracles, where my sight, hearing, thoughts, feelings and inner voice are permanently connected to other humans," he claimed.

Diaz claimed he had "received a revelation to abolish Islam."

“After I went through a very long process, this is the time for me to tell the world to dissolve the religion of Islam, according to the instructions of God Almighty," he said.

The video sparked protests from Muslim groups who accused him of blasphemy.

"The problem in Indonesia is that what is always protected is religion, not people or individuals who follow religion," said Bonar Tigor Naipospos, deputy head of religious freedom with Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace, an advocacy group.

"Therefore, anyone who attacks religion will be subject to a criminal offense," he added.

Andreas Harsono, a researcher with Human Rights Watch said, "Diaz might sound weird but he did not hurt anyone.”

"He only expressed his opinion about what he thought about Islam probably," he said.

"We could disagree with what he said but the government need not interfere. The Indonesian police should release him," Harsono added.

Diaz's motive “is still being investigated," police chief Tampubolon said.

Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim nation, has registered at least 187 cases of blasphemy between 1965 and 2022, according to the Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace.

In December last year, Joseph Suryadi, a 39-year-old Christian, was charged with blasphemy for allegedly insulting Islam by comparing Prophet Muhammad with an alleged child rapist.

In August same year, police arrested Muhammad Kace, a Christian YouTuber, after a series of complaints were filed by Muslims accusing him of blasphemy.

He claimed in a video posted on YouTube that Prophet Muhammad was “surrounded by devils and liars.” 

Muslims make up 87 percent of Indonesia's estimated population of more than 270 million.

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