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Indonesian Muslim hardliners protest Facebook blocking

Islamic Defenders Front claims posts were banned despite being of a religious nature

Indonesian Muslim hardliners protest Facebook blocking
Protesters hold a banner in front of the office of Facebook Indonesia in South Jakarta on Jan. 12. (Photo by Konradus Epa/ucanews.com)
 

Published: January 15, 2018 08:50 AM GMT

Updated: January 15, 2018 08:51 AM GMT

Hardline Indonesian Islamic organizations have protested against Facebook blocking accounts used to promote their ideology.

The Islamic Defenders Front said about 70 pages, including those of Islamic Defender Troops and Save Ulama, had been blocked.

Muslim activist Slamet Maarif told ucanews.com on Jan. 12 that a complaint had been lodged with Facebook Indonesia.

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He was among activists who in late 2016 protested against the Christian then governor of Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, who had maintained there was no Islamic prohibition on Muslims voting for non-Muslims.

After failing to be re-elected to the post, he was imprisoned for blasphemy.

Maarif said Facebook accounts, including his own, were blocked despite content being of a religious nature.

About 500 members of militant Islamic organizations earlier this month held a protest march to Facebook Indonesia’s South Jakarta office.

Al-Athos, coordinator of the protest, called on Facebook Indonesia officials to explain their criteria for blocking the Islamic accounts.

He said the accounts were blocked before and after a gathering on Dec. 2, 2017, to mark one year since the holding of a mass rally against the former Jakarta governor.

Egi Sujana, an activist and Muslim lawyer, accused Facebook of discrimination.

But he suggested that the account blocking was linked to a National Cyber Agency established by President Joko Widodo in May 2017.

Responding to the protest, Facebook said the company wanted people to feel safe while connecting and posting on its platform.

“We allow people to use Facebook to challenge ideas and raise awareness about important issues, but we will remove content that violates our community standards,” a company spokesman said.

He added that Facebook prohibited organizations and individuals from promoting hatred and violence.

 

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