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TikTok star Lina Mukherjee's 'Bismillah' pork video ends in jail time

Sep 21, 2023 07:03 PM IST

TikTok influencer sentenced to jail and fined for eating pork and uttering a Muslim prayer in Indonesia.

Lina Lutfiawati, known as Lina Mukherjee on TikTok, has been sentenced to two years in jail and fined 250 million rupiah ($16,245) for a TikTok video in which she uttered a Muslim prayer before consuming pork, a forbidden act in Islam.

TikTok influencer sentenced to jail and fined for eating pork and uttering a Muslim prayer in Indonesia.(X)
TikTok influencer sentenced to jail and fined for eating pork and uttering a Muslim prayer in Indonesia.(X)

Lina Mukherjee, a popular TikTok influencer with over two million followers, posted the video in March 2023 while travelling in Bali, Indonesia's tourist hotspot with a predominantly Hindu population. In the video, she is seen saying "Bismillah" (meaning "in the name of God" in Arabic) before tasting crispy pork skin, making a face of disgust.

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The video quickly garnered millions of views and widespread criticism in Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim-majority country, where the consumption of pork is strictly prohibited in Islam. Another Indonesian citizen reported Lina Mukherjee to the authorities, accusing her of "knowingly eating pork skin as a Muslim."

In May, she was charged with disseminating hateful information, which was considered an act of hostility targeting ethnicity, religion, and race. On September 19, a court in Palembang, Sumatra, found her guilty of "inciting hatred" against religious individuals and groups. The court ruled that Lutfiawati had "spread information that was intended to incite hate or individual/group enmity based on religion."

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In addition to the two-year jail sentence, Lina Mukherjee faces a substantial fine. Failure to pay the fine could result in a three-month extension of her jail term.

After the verdict, Lina Mukherjee expressed surprise at the severity of her punishment. "I know that I am wrong, but I did not expect this punishment," she told reporters on the local news station MetroTV.

The case has sparked discussions about freedom of expression, religious sensitivity, and the use of social media in Indonesia, where the digital landscape continues to evolve.

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