A new Google Android app helps Muslims report individuals who commit blasphemy or insult Islam.
With “Smart Pakem,” launched in Indonesia last month at the request of the Indonesian government, users and government officials can report people who hold “misguided” beliefs in violation of Islamic law, reports Big League Politics.
Islamic law, also called Shariah, forbids insults of Islam and the recognition of any other religion.
In Indonesia, which has the world’s largest Muslim population, the criminal code prohibits blasphemy. It’s defined as “the act or offense of speaking sacrilegiously about God or sacred things.”
The penalty for blasphemy in the country of 207 million is a maximum of five years imprisonment.
Big League Politics noted Google’s vice president for Southeast Asia, Rajan Anandan, has not shown any resistance to the app, which is available in the Google app store.
Human Rights Watch has reported 148 people have been convicted of blasphemy in Indonesia since 2004.
The National Secular Society, NSS, has asked Google not stock the app in the app store, contending it will diminish freedom of expression.
NSS CEO Stephen Evans said the app was “incongruous with Google’s mission statement” and “runs directly contrary to the democratic ideals which Google says it stands for.”
He said it will “normalize restrictions on freedom of expression in Indonesia and elsewhere.”
Jihad Watch Director Robert Spencer noted Anwar Awlaki’s al-Qaida recruitment lectures were offered in the Google Play store app.
In 2017, Spencer further pointed out, Texas imam Omar Suleiman persuaded Google to drop search results that reflected negatively on Islam.
Turkey’s Anadolu Agency reported at the time: “Google’s first page results for searches of terms such as ‘jihad.’ ‘shariah’ and ‘taqiyya’ now return mostly reputable explanations of the Islamic concepts.”
The agency said Taqiyya, “which describes the circumstances under which a Muslim can conceal their belief in the face of persecution, is the sole term to feature a questionable website on the first page of results.”
Spencer commented that by “reputable,” the news agency in the Muslim-majority nation meant “acceptable under the Sharia prohibition on criticism of Islam.”
A “questionable website, he said, would be one that “tells hard truths about Islam and jihad.”
“So this Sharia-friendly stance at Google has been going on for quite some time,” Spencer wrote.