Having observed the totalists among us it’s worth reminding ourselves of the consequences of such ideologues gaining power. In Sumatra Alexander Aan has been sentenced

An Indonesian man arrested after writing “God doesn’t exist” on his Facebook page was jailed for 30 months Thursday for sharing explicit material about the Prophet Mohammed online.

Alexander Aan, 30, was found guilty of “deliberately spreading information inciting religious hatred and animosity”…

It’s true that Mr Aan incited religious hatred – that of the religious people who assaulted him before he was dragged off to jail. I doubt it was deliberate, though; on his part, at least. His only consolation, of course, is the thought that he is at least a citizen of “moderate” Indonesia. Had it been Kuwait he was unfortunate enough to dwell in he might, like poor Hamad al-Naqi earlier this month, have been locked up for a decade.

Elsewhere on the islands a publisher is absolving himself of blame for the swiftly rescinded publication of a book by US theologian Douglas Wilson…

Indonesian publisher Gramedia Pustaka Utama burned hundreds of copies of a book that called the Prophet Muhammad a pirate and a murderer on Wednesday following protests by the hard-line Islamic Defenders Front.

The books were burned outside the Bentara Budaya cultural hall in the Kompas Gramedia complex in Palmerah, West Jakarta. Company president director Wandi S. Brata oversaw the book burning, along with several Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) officials, including deputy chairman Ma’ruf Amin.

You can’t have too many witnesses when books are being burned. Think of the consequences of a page or two escaping before they’ve been fully charred.

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