2 Years For Blasphemy
The Central Jakarta Court sentenced Lia Aminuddin, or Lia Eden, the leader of the religious sect God's Kingdom of Eden, to two years in prison for blasphemy. Prosecutors had been seeking a five-year sentence. The panel of judges hearing the case said Lia was guilty of blasphemy for introducing her own version of religious teachings to her followers, The Jakarta Post online news reported. Judge Lief Sufijullah, however, said Lia was not guilty of the other charges brought against her, including spreading hatred and disseminating "illegal" beliefs to others."Anyone can practice his/her own religion, but they cannot blaspheme other religions," Ridwan Mansyur, another judge on the panel, was quoted as saying after the court hearing. Lia, who was born in Makassar, South Sulawesi, on Aug. 21, 1947, has proclaimed herself the angel Gabriel. In 1998, she proclaimed herself Imam Mahdi -- a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad who, according to prophecy, will come to Earth during its last days to bring peace and justice to the world. In 2000, God's Kingdom of Eden proclaimed Salamullah as a new religion. Salamullah teaches that Muhammad was the last prophet but also teaches that other holy figures, such as Buddha, Jesus Christ and Kwan Im, the Chinese goddess of mercy, will be reincarnated. Since 2003 the group has taken to perennial philosophy -- the belief that a universal set of truths common to all people and cultures exits. The group now goes by the name of Kaum Eden (The Edenists).