An app currently available on the Google Play Store allows users to report incidents of religious “heresy” to the Muslim-majority Indonesian government.
The free app, titled “Smart Pakem,” was reportedly “created by the Jakarta Prosecutor’s Office, which said it would help educate the public and modernize the current reporting process.”
“The app will also list religious edicts and blacklisted organizations and allow users to file complaints instantaneously, instead of going through the often cumbersome process of submitting a written accusation to a government office,” reported the Daily Mail. “However, rights groups fear the application could be misused by increasingly powerful hardline Islamic groups and widen divisions in a country where harassment of religious and other minorities is not uncommon.”
Human Rights Watch’s Andreas Harsono proclaimed, “This is going from bad to worse – another dangerous step to discriminate religious minorities in Indonesia,” while Setara Institute Vice Chairman Bonar Tigor Naipospos explained, “This is dangerous because if mainstream society doesn’t like (a group) they’ll report them through the application – this will create problems.”
A spokesman for the Jakarta Prosecutor’s Office claimed the app’s purpose is “to prevent [the public] from following doctrines from an individual or a group that are not in line with the regulations.”
Despite protests, the app is currently listed and available for download on the Google Play Store.
Indonesia, a Muslim-majority nation, has severe punishments for blasphemy and heresy, and non-Muslims have previously been forced to convert to Islam in order to qualify for certain government benefits.
In 2015, it was revealed that female military personnel in Indonesia were required to undergo virginity tests, and crackdowns on the LGBT community are also common, with dedicated task forces assigned.
Google has previously complied with the Indonesian government, removing several LGBT apps from the Google Play Store in January.