A social media star has been jailed for two years after she filmed herself eating a frowned-upon food item in Indonesia.
Lina Lutfiawati, also known as Lina Mukherjee, created a “blasphemous” video when she recited an Islamic phrase before eating crispy pork skin for her two million followers to see.
While pork isn’t banned in Indonesia, it is forbidden in Islam and remains taboo among most Indonesians. At least 93 per cent of its 231m people identify as Muslim.
Mukherjee, 33, who identifies as Muslim, was charged with blasphemy, which is the action or offence of speaking sacrilegiously about God or sacred things.
In her video on TikTok, she is seen reciting the Islamic phrase “Bismillah” (In the name of Allah) before speaking to the camera and grimacing as she tries pork skin for the first time.
Bismillah is one of the most important and common holy phrases in Islam. It is the first phrase in the Quran and is often said by Muslims before eating. It is also frequently used as a generic declaration.
The video, which was posted in March, sparked outrage in Indonesia. Mukherjee has since been convicted of “spreading information aimed at inciting hatred against religious individuals and specific groups”, according to court documents.
In addition to her two-year sentence, she was fined NZ$27,000. If she fails to pay, she could be jailed for a further three months.
Mukherjee explained that she tried pork out of curiosity, according to the BBC.
She is well-known in Indonesia for her lifestyle and food videos showing her sampling various dishes. Many have questioned whether she is religious at all and raised concerns about her real motives behind the video.
Her actions were condemned by numerous Indonesian groups including the top Muslim clerical body, the Indonesian Ulema Council, which issued a ruling calling the video blasphemous.
Speaking to reporters outside court on Tuesday after the trial, Mukherjee expressed shock at the sentence.
“I know I was wrong but I really did not expect this punishment.”
Her video prompted a public complaint, which sparked police investigations that led to Mukherjee being prosecuted.
She asked the court to give her a week to consider the verdict, not ruling out the possibility of an appeal.
During a hearing last month, she apologised to “all Indonesian people for causing a commotion”.