In our ongoing coverage of blasphemy prosecutions, the case of Gregory Luke, 64, in Indonesia is a standout. The retired Californian engineer is charged with blasphemy for allegedly turning off a speaker system during Ramadan playing prayers throughout the night. He denies that he did so, but the allegation was enough for a crowd to tear apart his home on Lombok island and Luke to be arrested.
Luke admits that he went to the mosque to complain that the amplification of the prayers was too loud. He said that he was immediately set upon by the crowd and prosecutor Baiq Nurjanah is now demanding seven months jail for blasphemy.
I have previously criticized the Obama Administration’s retreat in supporting an international blasphemy measure to appease Middle Eastern allies.
We have seen an increase in such blasphemy prosecutions in the West.
Luke asked for mercy and a light sentence before the court — despite the fact that he previously denied the allegations. He said that he was attacked when he asked for the volume to be turned down and then stoned. He was then chased to his home, which was tore apart while the local police watched and did nothing. Notably, the police did not charge a single person for the attack on Luke or ransacking his home. It appears those crimes are not covered under Sharia law – at least in this case.