Woman brings dog into mosque, gets charged with blasphemy

Woman brings dog into mosque, gets charged with blasphemy October 22, 2019

AN Indonesian woman, a Christian said to be suffering from schizophrenia, is to stand trial for blasphemy for bringing a dog into a mosque in June of this year.

Suzethe Margaret’s presence in the Munawaroh Mosque in Bogor, south of Jakarta, led to melee. This caused the dog to run off and it was run over and killed by a passing car.

Dogs are not permitted inside mosques because the animal is considered ritually impure in Islam.

Margaret, 52, also offended worshippers by entering the mosque wearing sandals – another big no-no in Islam.


In video footage that went viral, Margaret could be seen arguing with mosque caretakers and was heard saying that she was a Christian and wanted to know about her ex-husband marrying another woman at the mosque later in the day.

Her family told Benar News that she suffered from mental illness, which police reportedly confirmed after taking the woman to a hospital in Jakarta for psychiatric evaluation.

She faces five years in prison.

Indonesia Researcher for Human Rights Watch, Andreas Harsono, said:

[This case] shows how Indonesia’s blasphemy law is easily abused. The government should revoke the law instead of expanding it and drop the cases against those charged.

Gina Goh, International Christian Concern’s Regional Manager for Southeast Asia, added:

Although I can understand why the Indonesian Muslims were deeply upset by Suzethe’s behaviour, we should not forget that she suffers from mental illness and should not be held to the same standard as an ordinary citizen.

Her case also further proves that blasphemy law in Indonesia has been applied to oppress the minorities in the country, whether they are Christians, Buddhists, or mentally disabled.

Even if rights groups’ previous attempts to revoke the law have failed, the government needs to ensure the rights of religious minorities out of respect for human rights.

After Margeret’s arrest University of NSW professor Melissa Crouch, described the case as:

Tragic … one that simply should not happen. Certainly the wearing of shoes inside a mosque and the presence of a dog inside the mosque would have been disturbing for those present. But that is nothing compared to the absurdity of bringing charges against a woman who appears to have been affected by her illness and whose behaviour, as captured on video, bore no intention of insulting Islam.

This case should be seen as a crisis point in Indonesia in terms of the misuse and abuse of the blasphemy law.

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  • persephone

    Okay, that’s a fail right there. Mohammed apparently was not a dog person. How could anyone trust anything he said?

  • (((J_Enigma32)))

    I mean, he was a crazy cat guy, so at least that’s something going for him (I’m not a huge fan of dogs either. After nearly being attacked twice while out for a walk by strays, I much rather prefer cats. Of course, while I don’t like dogs, I hate dog owners who let their mutts run free and chain them up so they bark at all hours of the night, treating their animal as a status symbol).

    Amusingly, cats are rather important in Islam as a result of Muhammad loving his cat. Much like cats were famous in another part of that region very close to where Muhammad lived — pagan Egypt.

  • It’s just a dog, y’all! People need to stop with this silly “purity” stuff.

  • The “dogs are impure/unclean” policy is just a custom that’s not in the Quran. Given that, how can this woman be guilty of blasphemy?

    For more, search “dog” in this article:

    Hunting dogs and the dog of the Companions of al-Kahf (the Cave) are described in a positive light, and the companionship of these dogs is mentioned with approval. The Qurʼan, thus, contains not even a hint of the condemnation of dogs found in certain Hadith, which the majority of scholars regard to be “pre-Islamic Arab mythology” and “falsely attributed to the Prophet” anyways.

  • CoastalMaineBird

    how can this woman be guilty of blasphemy?
    Oh come on. She’s a woman, which is close to blasphemy right there.
    “Blasphemy” is whatever an imam, worshiper, mosque janitor, or any person with a joystick between their legs says it is.

  • Yeah, my bad. I wasn’t paying attention.

  • Broga

    I’m sorry you were nearly attacked and I don’t like out of control dogs. And a dog barking all night would drive me nuts i.e. more nuts than I am already. My view is there are no bad dogs, only bad dog owners and there are plenty of those. By the way, if a dog tries to attack you the best response, in my experience, is to fold your arms across you chest, and perhaps also turn your back, and keep still. Stick your hand or foot out and it has something to bite.

    I don’t know what “ritually impure” means. Is that different to “impure?”

  • Broga

    No chance. The believers think the “ritual purity” gives the meaningless description some kind of religious, authentic support and must be true. The Roman Catholic Church has developed this to an art. Stick in words like mercy, innocence, charity, don’t question them, and even the brutal, violent nuns in that hell of an Irish Laundry have the cover of sanctity.

  • persephone

    There are bad dogs, just like there are bad people.

  • persephone

    I like them both. I grew up with both. I was nearly killed by a dog at 14. But I recognize the reasons the dog did what it did. And I have no patience for bad owners or people who say, “Oh, Twinkletoes would never hurt anyone.” B***s***. Every dog, just like every person, is capable of violence.

  • persephone

    Indonesia is swinging hard fundamentalist. There have been terrorist attacks there. Indonesia has a lot of income from the tourist trade, which is being affected by this.

  • So you’re saying that they’re concerned about the negative public reaction to a strong anti-blasphemy law?

  • ralphmeyer

    One can hope!