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INDONESIA: Tik Tok Influencer Jailed For Eating Pork

An Indonesian influencer has been jailed for two years after posting a TikTok video showing her praying and saying the Islamic phrase “Bismillah” before eating crispy pork skin. 

Lina Lutfiawati, 33, was found guilty of “inciting hatred” against religious individuals and groups. She also faces a $16,245 fine which could extend her jail term by three months if she does not pay up.

It is the latest in a series of cases involving controversial blasphemy laws in Muslim-majority Indonesia.

Lina Lutfiawati, who adopted the Indian name Lina Mukherjee due to her love of Bollywood movies, identifies as Muslim. The consumption of pork is strictly forbidden in Islam.

The lifestyle influencer, who has more than two million TikTok followers, also runs a business in India.

In March, she posted a video where she uttered “Bismillah” – an Arabic phrase that means “in the name of God” – before eating crispy pork skin. At the time, she was travelling in Bali, a tourist hotspot in Indonesia that, unlike the rest of the country, has a majority Hindu population.

Lutfiawati said she tried pork out of curiosity.

The video got millions of views and was widely criticised, prompting another Indonesian to report her to the police for “knowingly eating pork skin as a Muslim”.

Police charged Lutfiawati in May for disseminating hateful information, saying it was an act of hostility over ethnicity, religion, and race.

Many conservative groups across the country also issued rulings calling the video blasphemous. They included the Ulema Council, Indonesia’s top Muslim clerical body.

Lutfiawati’s case has generated a divided reaction with many praising the judge and calling her actions blasphemous. Others have criticised Lutfiawati’s jail sentence, noting that the jail terms meted out for corruption cases are often much lower.

Rights groups and activists in Indonesia have long criticised the blasphemy laws, which they say are frequently misused to target religious minorities.