Strange ASEAN laws: Black magic ban in Indonesia

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Witchcraft Indonesia1The Indonesian government is currently considering adding a law to the country’s Criminal Code that would outlaw witchcraft.  Here is the proposed law:

(1). Any person who claims to have supernatural powers and gives hope, offers, or provides services to others to inflict illness, death, mental or physical suffering shall be punished with imprisonment of 5 (five) years, or a fine in reference to category IV.

(2) If the offender as defined in subsection (1) committed the act for profit to earn money or as a custom, then the punishment may be added with another 1/3 (one third) of the original sentence.

It might take more than this to stop Indonesians from practicing witchcraft. A large percentage of the Indonesian population believes in black magic and there is a lot of money to be made as “clairvoyant,” or practitioner of the dark arts. The most common scenario is when someone wants to punish or best a rival and hires a clairvoyant to torment the rival with evil spirits and various maladies. All kinds of disasters are blamed on black magic. Any sudden death, drought, crop failure, or marriage problem is often thought to be the work of wicked clairvoyants paid by one’s enemies.

But one does not have to be a clairvoyant to practice witchcraft in Indonesia.  For example, in 2009 Chinese media reported an incident where a group of Indonesian maids in wealthy Chinese homes were tainting their employers’ food with their menstrual fluid and urine in an attempt to magically win favour with them. There are many such spells that people cast and rituals they perform to bring success to their businesses and for long life and happiness. These kind of benevolent spells are often called “white magic.”

It is not this sort of witchcraft, however, that the new law is meant to prevent.  The law instead is aimed at protecting the public from trickery.  But if all parties involved believe, is it really trickery

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Indonesian government is currently considering adding a law to the country’s Criminal Code that would outlaw witchcraft.  Here is the proposed law:

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Witchcraft Indonesia1The Indonesian government is currently considering adding a law to the country’s Criminal Code that would outlaw witchcraft.  Here is the proposed law:

(1). Any person who claims to have supernatural powers and gives hope, offers, or provides services to others to inflict illness, death, mental or physical suffering shall be punished with imprisonment of 5 (five) years, or a fine in reference to category IV.

(2) If the offender as defined in subsection (1) committed the act for profit to earn money or as a custom, then the punishment may be added with another 1/3 (one third) of the original sentence.

It might take more than this to stop Indonesians from practicing witchcraft. A large percentage of the Indonesian population believes in black magic and there is a lot of money to be made as “clairvoyant,” or practitioner of the dark arts. The most common scenario is when someone wants to punish or best a rival and hires a clairvoyant to torment the rival with evil spirits and various maladies. All kinds of disasters are blamed on black magic. Any sudden death, drought, crop failure, or marriage problem is often thought to be the work of wicked clairvoyants paid by one’s enemies.

But one does not have to be a clairvoyant to practice witchcraft in Indonesia.  For example, in 2009 Chinese media reported an incident where a group of Indonesian maids in wealthy Chinese homes were tainting their employers’ food with their menstrual fluid and urine in an attempt to magically win favour with them. There are many such spells that people cast and rituals they perform to bring success to their businesses and for long life and happiness. These kind of benevolent spells are often called “white magic.”

It is not this sort of witchcraft, however, that the new law is meant to prevent.  The law instead is aimed at protecting the public from trickery.  But if all parties involved believe, is it really trickery

Do you like this post?
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