Dancing Indonesian teens may face jail over 'blasphemous' video

Featured South East Asia - April 24th, 2013
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Five teenage Indonesian girls may end up in jail after making a ‘blasphemous’ video in which they infused Islamic prayer with dance moves to a foreign song.

According to authorities, the young ladies were expelled from their high school in Sulawesi island’s Tolitoli city and reported to police after a five-minute video showing the five of them switching between Islamic prayer and dancing to US pop band Maroon 5’s “One More Night” went viral online.

The video, which had by then garnered 500,000 views on YouTube, was brought to the attention of police who questioned the girls on suspicion of blasphemy.

“The school and members of the community were offended by the video and felt it insulted Islam,” Tolitoli police chief Rudi Mulyanto told AFP.

The girls, whose ages are not identified, are not in custody but could be jailed on unspecified terms if found guilty. Blasphemy in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, carries a maximum sentence of five years, though minors usually face half the adult sentence and are detained in juvenile detention facilities.

Residents in the remote community were outraged over the video saying that it was a serious offence against Islam.