Indonesian woman charged with blasphemy for entering mosque with dog

JAKARTA (DPA) - A Christian woman who entered a mosque with a dog and her shoes on has been charged with religious blasphemy despite evidence that she is mentally ill, Indonesian police said on Wednesday (July 3).

The 52-year-old woman was arrested after she stormed into a mosque near Jakarta on Sunday while carrying a dog and still wearing her shoes, an act deemed offensive to Muslims, who consider canine saliva to be dirty.

A video showing the woman yelling at caretakers of the mosque in the city of Bogor was widely shared on social media, prompting angry responses. She was also heard calling herself a Catholic in the video.

The woman was deemed mentally ill after a psychiatric examination at a police hospital in Jakarta, Bogor police chief Andy M. Dicky said.

Police said the woman's previous medical record showed that she had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 2013.

"We will still process the case. The psychiatric record will be considered in court and be considered by the judges as a redeeming factor," he said.

Indonesian Vice-President Jusuf Kalla urged Muslims to remain calm and not to overreact.

"We should not retaliate as her action is also disapproved by the religion she belongs to," Mr Kalla said.