Malaysian to serve 10 years in jail for maligning Islam on Facebook

Operating under the Facebook name Ayea Yea, he was found guilty of misusing the social media network and causing racial disharmony in what many feel to be an extremely harsh penalty

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Photo: YouTube screengrab

A Malaysian will serve 10 years in jail for insulting Islam and Prophet Muhammad on social media.

Critics claimed the 10-year sentence is considered the harshest penalty ever made by a Muslim-majority nation. In recent months, Malaysia has faced several issues regarding racial and religious conflicts.

According to Mr Mohamad Fuzi, the inspector-general of police, in a statement the convicted individual, whose identity was not made public, was guilty of 10 counts of misusing Facebook.

Each offence is equivalent to a maximum detention of one year in jail or paying a fine of about RM50,000 ringgit (S$12,228) or both.

Mr Mohamad Fuzi said the penalty was assigned consecutively to the convicted individual.

Another social media user was found guilty and a trial will be held next week. Two others pleaded not guilty and were detained without bail.

All four individuals were being charged under Malaysian law with causing racial disharmony, incitement, and communication network technology misuse.

The authorities advised the public never to abuse social media or any communication networks by sharing or uploading provocative messages that defame religious or racial sensitivities.

The inspector general noted all issues that ignite racial tensions within this country’s diverse community will be penalised.

Of late, Mujahid Yusof Rawa, minister-in-charge of religious affairs, said that the Islamic Affairs Department has created a unit that will mainly monitor messages and communications that may malign Islam and Muhammad.

He added the ministry will be very strict about anything perceived to be insulting the religion and punishment will be meted out to those found guilty.

Ever since, issues on race, religion, and language have become more taboo than ever in Malaysia.

The detained individual’s Facebook name was “Ayea Yea.”  He will be jailed for 10 years and 10 months after being found guilty of 10 charges of anti-religious messages and misuse of the popular social media network, according to reports.

In general, under the Malaysian legislation, individuals found guilty of anti-religious activities will be punished with a jail term of two to five years.