Teen Facing 5 Years After TikTok Vid Dancing In Prayer

Story By: Alex Cope, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash

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This Indonesian teenager has been detained for posting a TikTik video where she danced during a Muslim prayer and she could face five years in prison if charged with blasphemy.

Ria Ernawanti, 19, was arrested after posting the video of her dancing on the TikTok platform from the Central Lombok regency in southern Indonesia’s West Nusa Tenggara province.

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In the video, Ernawanti can be seen wearing a mukena – a traditional garment which covers a woman’s head and body which is worn for prayer – and she can be seen bowing as if praying.

An electronic song plays in the background and at one point the teenager smiles and begins dancing along to the song, pumping her fist under the mukena as the lighting changes colour.

She captioned the video: “While praying, a neighbour suddenly played a DJ’s song. [So I’m dancing] instead of praying wholeheartedly, but my husband suddenly came home.”

Local media report the video was widely shared in Indonesia and the Central Lombok Police then apprehended the teenager, taking her to a local station for questioning.

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Ernawanti reportedly told the officers she simply made the video for fun but local police chief Priyo Suhartono told reporters that the video contained “elements of tribal, racial, and religious discrimination or an insult towards a certain religion embraced in Indonesia”.

Suhartono said the video had “upset the public due to the suspect’s disgraceful actions in the video”, adding the teenager could be charged with blasphemy depending on a statement from the Indonesian Ulema Council, the country’s highest clerical body. The maximum penalty for blasphemy is five years in prison.

It is unclear if the teen has been charged.

Alex Cope

I am a senior writer and editor of the Golders news agency specialising in sports news from around the world.