As Benar News reported on 18 March 2022, Indonesia"s minister of religion has been accused of blasphemy
after making a statement in which he compared the muezzin"s summons to prayer over loudspeakers to dogs barking: "If our neighbors have dogs and they all bark at the same time, don"t we think it"s a disturbance? Therefore, we have to regulate all noises so they don"t become a nuisance."
World Watch Research analyst Thomas Muller gives some background information: "Minister Staquf, who is known for his inclusive approach towards minority religions, tried to soften his remark with further explanations, but as dogs are considered unclean by many Muslims, his words sparked an uproar. And even though the police decided not to initiate investigations into blasphemy, it still shows how ambiguous the situation in Indonesia is. On the one hand, society is free to even accuse the minister of religion of blasphemy; on the other hand, radical Muslim groups (or anyone of influence with an eye on the upcoming presidential election in 2024) use such topics to sow discontent. This is also true for the continuing tense situation concerning the churches closed
in Aceh province, as a report published by New Mandala on 21 March 2022 shows. The report closes with the words: "˜As a result, the people of Aceh Singkil appear fragmented and suspicious, and thus become embers with the potential to explode"."