An Australian man has been charged with allegedly spitting on Imam at a mosque in Indonesia. Brenton Craig Abbas Abdullah McArthur was captured on CCTV footage purportedly spitting on Basri Anwar. The footage went viral on social media in Indonesia, leading to widespread condemnation of McArthur’s behaviour. McArthur, who had an expired visa, was arrested at the airport as he tried to leave the country
Incident Captured on CCTV
The CCTV footage showed Brenton Craig Abbas Abdullah McArthur allegedly walking up to Basri Anwar, an Imam at a mosque in Bandung, Indonesia, and engaging him in conversation before appearing to spit at him. Anwar was seen running away while McArthur, wearing a baseball cap, left the mosque. The CCTV footage swiftly became viral on social media platforms in Indonesia, triggering a widespread backlash against McArthur’s conduct.. Many people viewed the incident as a racially motivated attack, with some claiming that McArthur was disturbed by the sound of the Qur’an being recited over a loudspeaker.
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Arrest and Charges
McArthur, whose visa had expired, was arrested at the airport as he tried to board a flight home. Police in Bandung, Indonesia, tracked McArthur to the airport as he attempted to board a flight back to Australia. Budi Sartono, the chief of Bandung’s local police, said they immediately asked immigration to stop him and cancel him from leaving the country. McArthur was taken to Bandung police station for interrogation. Kumparan, a local media website, reported that McArthur had been charged under laws relating to carrying out “unpleasant acts and insults,” which carry up to 14 months in jail.
Denial of Wrongdoing
Despite the video evidence, McArthur denied any wrongdoing and claimed that he was the victim of racism. He posted on Instagram, saying: “Stop crying all your racist tears. I am a Muslim, and this is just racist, threatening a bule (Indonesian term for a foreigner) and laughing being a coward.” However, Anwar, the imam at the mosque where the alleged assault occurred, told an Indonesian news site that he believed McArthur was “disturbed” by the sound of the Qur’an being recited over a loudspeaker. McArthur was accompanied by Australian consular officials to the police station where he was interrogated about the incident.
The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed that they were prepared to offer consular assistance to McArthur following his detainment in Indonesia. Consular officials from Australia were present during McArthur’s interrogation at the police station, but the extent of the assistance provided was not disclosed. The incident has drawn attention to the issue of foreigners behaving inappropriately while visiting other countries and has led to calls for more respect and understanding of cultural differences.
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McArthur’s alleged spitting incident on an Imam at a mosque in Indonesia has drawn widespread criticism and triggered discussions on the importance of cultural respect. McArthur’s arrest and subsequent charges have highlighted the consequences of inappropriate behaviour while visiting foreign countries, and the need for individuals to be aware of cultural differences. Moreover, the incident also highlights the importance of consular assistance provided by governments in ensuring the fair treatment of their citizens abroad.