A Muslim cleric named Panji Gumilang has been arrested on charges of blasphemy and hate speech in Indonesia after his decision to allow women to preach and pray beside men.
Panji Gumilang, 77, who runs the Al-Zaytun boarding school in the district of Indramayu in West Java, was arrested on Tuesday, August 1, Indonesian National Police official Djuhandhani Rahardjo told reporters outside its Criminal Investigation Agency in Jakarta.
“Investigators took legal action,” Djuhandhani said on Tuesday. “(Panji will be) detained in the Criminal Investigation Agency’s detention facility for 20 days,” Djuhandhani Rahardjo soad.
Police have reportedly refused to say what Panji had said or done that constituted blasphemy but said they were acting on public complaints.
According to reports, Indonesia’s Islamic Clerical Council said it was investigating Al-Zaytun for “misguided religious practices,” according to CNN Indonesia. If found guilty of blasphemy and hate speech, Panji faces a maximum 10 years in prison.
Panji’s lawyer Hendra Effendy called for calm from his supporters.
“He is after all, a public figure with millions of supporters… With all this happening, we don’t know what could happen,” he told CNN Indonesia.