PADANG, Indonesia -- A 30-year-old Indonesian civil servant who was viciously attacked by a mob after posting on Facebook that "God doesn't exist" is now threatened with jail time for blasphemy.
“He has triggered unrest among local residents," Dharmasraya Police Chief Chairul Aziz told The Jakarta Post on Friday.
The man, identified as Alexander, was arrested Friday on charges of blasphemy for his writings on his Facebook page. He had created a Facebook fan page titled Ateis Minang (Minang Atheist) and gained more than 1,238 Facebook "likes" before it was taken down from the social network site, according to the Post.
On his page, Alexander wrote about his Muslim upbringing, how he didn't believe in angels, demons, heaven or hell and how he stopped practicing his faith in 2008, according to media reports. He posted comments regarding the Islamic faith, including "God doesn't exist" and "If God exists, why do bad things happen? There should only be good things if God is merciful."
Aziz said Indonesia's Council of Ulema, the ruling Islamic authority, charged Alexander with defiling Islam by using passages from the Quran to denounce God, The Telegraph reported on Friday.
If convicted of blasphemy, Alexander could face up to five years in prison.
Dozens of residents in his hometown in Pulau Punjung, West Sumatra province, stormed into Alexander's office on Wednesday and carried on their heated debate over religion, police said. Alexander was beaten, including by some of his colleagues.
Dharmasraya Regent Adi Gunawan told the Jakarta Post Alexander he has not taken any action to remove the man from his job on the planning board.
“I will await the legal process and decide later about his employment status,” Adi told the newspaper.
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