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Google Hosts 'Sharia' App Helping Indonesian Muslims Report Blasphemy, Heresy

© REUTERS / Toby MelvilleThe Google name is displayed outside the company's office in London, Britain, November 1, 2018
The Google name is displayed outside the company's office in London, Britain, November 1, 2018 - Sputnik International
The description to the app on the Google Play Store suggests that “Smart Pakem” will “make it easier to find information and manage religion, belief flow and community organisations in the jurisdiction of DKI Jakarta”, Indonesia’s capital.

Over the weekend, the Google Play Store approved the latest version of Smart Pakem, an app that allows Muslims in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta to report violations of Islamic law – Sharia, including blasphemy and heresy.

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The free-of-charge app, which has been downloaded over 1,000 times, was developed by the Jakarta prosecutor’s office and claims to provide users with an opportunity to report religious beliefs they consider misguided.

“The objective… is to provide easier access to information about the spread of beliefs in Indonesia to educate the public and to prevent them from following doctrines from an individual or a group that are not in line with the regulations”, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office told AFP.

Smart Pakem offers a list of religious laws and regulations, as well as blacklisted organisations, and will allow users to lodge immediate complaints.

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People have been leaving negative reviews for the app on the Google Play Store, suggesting that Smart Pakem would imminently lead to “national disintegration” in Indonesia:

“It enables anyone, including fanatic religious people to report any traditional beliefs as harmful”, one person penned, while another wrote: “Following your own religious beliefs shouldn’t be a crime, Indonesia is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states that ‘everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice’”.

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The original version of the app came out on 25 November, while the latest was rolled out on 7 December.

While Indonesia considers itself a secular state and the country’s constitution guarantees freedom of religion, the government recognises only six official religions: Islam, Buddhism, Protestant Christianity, Roman-Catholic Christianity, Confucianism, and Hinduism.

Most parts of the country, which has the world’s largest population of Muslims, do not abide by Sharia law to the full extent, but the national criminal code forbids blasphemy and outlaws expressing “feelings of hostility, hatred, or contempt against religion”.

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