A screengrab from the minute-long video shows the 52-year-old woman, later identified by the initials S.M., raging at men inside the mosque.

Woman Charged With Blasphemy for Taking Dog Into Mosque


JULY 02, 2019

Jakarta. Police have charged a woman with blasphemy on Tuesday for allegedly entering a mosque in Bogor district, West Java, over the weekend while wearing shoes and carrying a dog.

A video of the incident, which occurred at Al Munawaroh Mosque in Sentul City on Sunday afternoon, almost immediately went viral on social media.

The use of footwear inside a mosque is forbidden because the area is considered holy in Islam, while dogs are regarded as unclean.

The minute-long video shows the 52-year-old woman, later identified by the initials S.M., raging at people inside the mosque. Several men are seen trying to escort her from the premises.

According to Islamic teachings, anything that has come into contact with a dog, especially its saliva, is impure and has to be washed seven times.

Bogor Police spokeswoman Comr. Ita Puspita Lena said the woman was declared a blasphemy suspect after investigators gathered evidence and spoke with witnesses.

"The investigators have upgraded S.M.'s status to that of suspect," Ita said.

Bogor Police chief Comr. A.M. Dicky said the woman, who seemed to be in emotional distress, entered the mosque at around 2 p.m. and started verbally attacking those inside.

She claimed to be looking for her husband, who was allegedly about to get married to another woman at the mosque. She started kicking and screaming when some of the men tried to remove her.

"This is a mosque; dogs are not allowed!" one man exclaims in the video. Police arrested her after she had already calmed down and left the mosque.

"The woman was angry because she heard her husband was about to get married in the mosque. She entered the mosque directly, without removing her shoes and while carrying her dog," Dicky said on Monday, adding that she apparently brought the canine to sniff out her husband.

He confirmed that no weddings were planned at the mosque for Sunday.

According to the woman's family, she suffers from depression due to her marital situation. She has been admitted to the National Police Hospital in East Jakarta for observation.

"Her family said she was previously admitted to a mental hospital; she has two statements from a hospital stating that she suffers from depression," Dicky said.

Police have yet to receive a report on her mental condition. 

She was charged with blasphemy under the Criminal Code, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

Ulemas Speaks Out

The Bogor chapter of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), the country's top Muslim clerical body, has meanwhile tried to calm the emotions of those enraged over the incident.

"We advise the ummah not to be provoked, to avoid an unwanted situation. Let's just wait for the result of the examination," Ahmad Mukri Aji, head of the MUI in Bogor, said at a press conference on Monday, as reported by Antara.

Helmy Faishal Zaini, secretary general of Nahdlatul Ulama, the world's largest independent Islamic organization, meanwhile also appealed for calm and called on people not to politicize the incident.

"No need to drag it out of context. The woman was looking for her husband, who was about to get married; this is a private matter," Helmy told the press in Jakarta on Monday.