Monopolizing Religious Blasphemy Law Interpretation in Indonesia: The Strategy of Lawfare and the Exercise of Power

Hary Widyantoro, Fredy Torang W Munthe


The article explores the process of monopolizing Blasphemy law interpretation by several Islamist groups and its impact on the freedom of religion in Indonesia. Even though the result of blasphemy cases in the national context is predictable, the local context shows a different dynamic. This article examines several religious blasphemy cases locally, such as Otto Radjasa’s in Balikpapan, Sukmawati’s in Jakarta, and Ganjar Pranowo’s in Central Java. It seeks to answer how has religious blasphemy been defined and interpreted by the Islamist group and how each interest has influenced the group interpretation and strategy to bring the offenders of the blasphemy law to the jail. It argues that monopolizing the law interpretation consists of two main strategies: first, by using lawfare against the political rivals, and second, by employing the exercise power while taking financial advantages from the offenders. The article contributes to the academic discussion on the exercise of power and hegemony in influencing the blasphemy law interpretation in Muslims majority countries.

Keywords: Religious Blasphemy, Islamists, Power, Hegemony

Full Text:



Affan, Heyder. “Mengapa Warga Balikpapan Menolak FPI Dan GNPF-MUI?” BBC Indonesia, January 11, 2017, sec. Indonesia.

Anwar, Ali. “Alumni 212: Sukmawati Soekarnoputri Lebih Parah Daripada Ahok.” Tempo, April 6, 2018.

Crouch, Melissa. “Constitutionalism, Islam and the Practice of Religious Deference: The Case of the Indonesian Constitutional Court.” SSRN Scholarly Paper. Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network, March 7, 2016.

———. Law and Religion in Indonesia Conflict and the Courts in West Java. London: Routledge, 2014.

———. “Law and Religion in Indonesia: The Constitutional Court and the Blasphemy Law.” SSRN Scholarly Paper. Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network, May 5, 2012.

Fadhil, Haris. “Ini Puisi Gus Mus yang Heboh Usai dibacakan Ganjar”. detiknews. Accessed November 12 2019. yang-heboh-usai-dibacakan-ganjar

Faizal, Achmad. “GP Ansor Jatim: Sukmawati Minta Maaf, Kami diperintah Cabut Laporan”. Accessed November 12 2019.

Goldstein, Brooke and Meyer, Aaron Eitan. "Legal Jihad": How Silamist Lawfare Tactics Are Targeting Free Speech." ILSA Journal of International danComparative Law 15, 2 (2009): 359-410

Hefner, Robert W, and Routledge. Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Indonesia. London; New York: Routledge, 2018.

Gual, Marselinus. “Korban Persekusi The Ahok Effect Tercatat Mencapai 59 Orang.” CNN Indonesia. Accessed August 1, 2017.

Gunawan. “Gara-gara status facebook, Dokter Otto Divonis 2 tahun Penjara” Accessed October 22 2019

lindsey, Tim. “Islamization, Law, and the Indonesia Courts.” In Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Indonesia. London; New York: Routledge, 2018.

Media, Kompas Cyber. “Kisah Fiera Lovita, Korban Persekusi yang Dituduh Menghina Tokoh Ormas.”, June 1, 2017.

Martinus, Yaspen. “Isi Lengkap Puisi Sukmawati Sukarnoputri yang Dilaporkan ke Polisi” Wartakota tribunnews, accessed July 1,2019. sukarnoputri-yang-dilaporkan-ke-polisi

Menchik, Jeremy. “Productive Intolerance: Godly Nationalism in Indonesia.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 56, no. 3 (July 2014): 591–621.

Mietzner, Marcus and Muhtadi, Burhanuddin. “The Mobilisation of intolerance and its trajectories: Indonesian Muslim’s view of religious minorities and ethnic Chinese” in “Contentious Belonging: The Place of Minorities in Indonesia” ed. Greg Fealy and Ronit Ricci (Singapore: ISEAS Publishing, 2019)

Pratiwi, Priska Sari. “Batal laporkan Ganjar, FUIB Minta Maaf ke Gus Mus Soal Puisi”. CNNNews. Accessed November 12 2019. ganjar-fuib-minta-maaf-ke-gus-mus-soal-puisi

Priambodo, Nalendro. “Divonis 2 tahun Penjara Karena Penodaan Agama Dokter ini Minta Masyarakat Jangan Berfikir Kritis”. Accessed April 15 2019

Purnomo, I. Wayan Agus. “Sukmawati Senang Polisi Hentikan Kasus Puisinya.” Tempo, June 18, 2018.

Ramdhani, Muhammad Fachri. “Kasus Penodaan Agama, Vonis sama-sama 2 Tahun Dokter Otto Rajasa Berniat Temani Ahok di Penjara” Accessed October 22 2019

Sohuturon, Martahan. "Puisi Sukmawati Soekanoputri Berbuah 14 laporan Polisi" .Accessed November 12 2019.

Taher, Andrian Pratama. “Batal Laporkan Ganjar Soal Puisi, FUIB Punya Kepentingan Politik?” Accessed November 12 2019.

Telle, Kari. “Faith on Trial: Blasphemy and ‘Lawfare’ in Indonesia.” Ethnos 83, no. 2 (March 15, 2018): 371–91.

US, The Conversation. “Blasphemy Isn’t Just A Problem In The Muslim World.” Huffington Post (blog), May 2, 2017.

Widyantoro, Hari. “Penodaan Agama dan dinamika lokal di Balikpapan” Accessed March 26 2019

Wildansyah, Samsudhuha. “FUIB Minta Maaf Ke NU-Gus Mus Soal Puisi Yang Dibacakan Ganjar.” detiknews. Accessed August 7, 2018.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Mazahib by Mazahib Jurnal Pemikiran Hukum Islam is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at


Indexed and Abstracted by: