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Indonesia's atheists face battle for religious freedom

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At www.guardian.co.uk

When Alex Aan picked up a copy of Karen Armstrong's Holy War from his local library in west Sumatra in 2005, he had little inkling of his own religious battle to come. But after posting 'God doesn't exist' on Facebook, the soft-spoken civil servant, 30, faces up to 11 years in jail for what is considered blasphemy in Indonesia. His case has stoked a debate in the world's most populous Muslim nation, whose 240 million citizens are technically guaranteed freedom of religion but protected by law only if they believe in one of six credos: Islam, Catholicism, Protestantism, Buddhism, Confucianism and Hinduism. Those who question any of those face five years in prison for 'insulting a major religion', plus an additional six years if they use the internet to spread such 'blasphemy' to others.

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At www.guardian.co.uk

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