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Australian Brenton Craig Abbas Abdullah McArthur charged with spitting at Imam in Bandung, Indonesia


Aussie tourist who spat in the face of imam at Indonesian mosque because he was angry about 3am prayer call faces more than a year in jail after being charged with the attack

  • Aussie accused of spitting at mosque prayer leader
  • He is being held by the Indonesian police

A tourist from Australia has been jailed for more than a year after allegedly spitting in the face of a Muslim prayer leader in an Indonesian mosque.

Brenton Craig Abbas Abdullah McArthur, 47, has been charged over the incident at the sacred building in Bandung, about 150 km southeast of Indonesia’s capital Jakarta.

CCTV footage, which has gone viral, shows a man in a baseball cap entering al-Muhajir Mosque and talking to 24-year-old Imam M Basri Anwar before allegedly spitting in his face.

Mr McArthur, a self-described Muslim and ‘government punching bag’, is assisted by Australian consular staff

The video shows the imam fleeing as the man casually walks away.

Imam Basri Anwar told another Indonesian news site that Mr McArthur was reportedly “disturbed” by reciting the Quran over a loudspeaker at 3am.

‘When it is Fair Friday, the Qur’an is recited. I think he (a bule man) feels crazy,” he said.

According to Indonesian police, Mr. McArthur was staying at a nearby hotel and they used his passport to locate and arrest him at Soekarno-Hatta Airport when he tried to board a flight to Australia.

“We immediately asked the Immigration Department to stop and deny him from leaving the country,” Bandung Police Chief Budi Sartono said in a statement.

“We immediately picked him up from the airport and took him to the Bandung police station for questioning.”

His residence visa had expired and Australian embassy officials accompanied him to the police station, according to local media.

Mr McArthur has been charged under Sections 335 and 315 of the Penal Code, which regulate unpleasant acts and insults, according to news site Kumparan.

The charges carry a maximum sentence of 14 months in prison if convicted.

In a social media post, Mr McArthur has denied any wrongdoing and claimed he is the victim.

“Stop crying all your racist tears. I’m a Muslim and this is just racist, threatening a bell and laughing like a coward,” he wrote on Instagram.

Mr McArthur is accused of spitting on the leader of the prayer, who then fled as he calmly walked away

Mr McArthur is accused of spitting on the leader of the prayer, who then fled as he calmly walked away

A bule is an Indonesian word used to describe foreigners, especially people of European descent.

Mr McArthur lists his job as an English teacher and game developer, and his hometown as Gosnells in Perth, Western Australia.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it is ready to provide consular assistance to an Australian man detained in Indonesia

“Due to privacy obligations, we are unable to provide any further information,” she said.

The incident comes after another Australian man faces the possibility of jail time after allegedly wreaking havoc during a drunken rampage.

Bodhi Mani Risby-Jones, 23, from Noosa in Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, was arrested Thursday at the Lantik Moonbeach Resort on Simeulue Island.

He is accused of running naked and drunk through a village, wreaking havoc in a coffee shop and knocking a man off a motorcycle, leaving him with a broken leg and a gaping wound that required 50 stitches.

Mr Risby-Jones’ father, Ben, said on Saturday that his son was “deeply ashamed of the trauma and continued suffering he has inflicted on his family” and issued an apology.

Ben said his son wanted to “apologise” to all the people he had “disrespected and hurt.”

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