Sharia Law Swallowing Indonesia
Indonesia, once a country of diversity, is now becoming a place for one-way Islam.
Although Indonesia, "the world's largest Muslim country" with an 87% Muslim population, was once considered a moderate Muslim country, day by day it has been leaning more and more towards conservative Islam and Sharia laws. Initiated in 2009, bylaws in the light of Sharia rulings were implemented that conflict with the values of human rights, and are creating a difficult land for minorities to live in.
Indonesian Aceh province authorities recently launched an initiative, despite opposition from human rights activists, to ban women from straddling motorcycles when riding behind a man. Suaidi Yahia, mayor of Lhokseumawe, the second large city of the province, said to the Associated Press, "It is improper for women to sit astride. We implement Islamic law here." He later said, "women sitting on motorbikes must not sit astride: it will provoke the male drivers." Instead, they allow women to sit sidesaddle, which is dangerous on a motorcycle.
The objectives of the local authorities were apparently to prevent "showing a woman's curves;" it is against Islamic teachings, Yahia went on to say, unless it is an emergency. In a notice distributed to the government offices and villages of northern Aceh, they added that women are not allowed to hold onto the driver.
Last year, the mayor of Tasikmalaya in West Java proposed to veil all women, including non-Muslims. Mayor Syarif Hidayat vowed to implement Sharia law, to repay Muslim leaders who backed his election victory. The President of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who is serving his second term, also relies on the support of Muslim political parties.
Sharia law is spreading throughout all of the provinces of Indonesia; citizens are enacting their own variations of Islamic laws, and applying then to non-Muslims as well.
Although Western leaders have praised Indonesia as a model of "Muslim democracy," as Muslims become more intolerant of its Christian minority, the increased Islamization of Indonesia renders these Christians more vulnerable. A few days ago, six Catholic schools in East Java finally gave in to a local ordinance that requires all Muslim students to be able to read and write Koranic verses, and said it will provide Islamic lessons for their Muslim students.
The head of the Ministry Office of Religious Affairs, Imam Mukhlis, told the Jakarta Post that the six schools had finally agreed to provide Islamic teachers for their Muslim students. Earlier the Blitar City Administration of East Java threatened to close down the six Catholic schools for their refusal to provide Islamic lessons to their Muslim students. In 2006, President Susilo tightened criteria for building a house of worship. More than 400 churches have been closed since he took office in 2004. The notorious Bali terrorist attack, as well as restrictions on hotels, bars, embassies, have all derived from these decade-long efforts of Islamization. By 2010, Indonesia had over 150 religiously motivated regulations restricting minorities' rights.
It is not only governmental initiatives that are disrupting the lives of Christians, Shiite Muslims, Bahais, Ahmadiyyans, Sufis and atheists. Individuals and groups have been engaging in terroristic attacks against non-Sunni Muslims. In August 2011, Muslim militants burned down three Christian churches on Sumatra. In an attack, in west Java in February 2011, three Ahmadiyyans were killed. A cameraman recorded the scene, posted on YouTube. In September 2010, Islamist militants burned down two churches, and stabbed an elderly Christian as he tried to defend the third site.
Western leaders need to understand that Indonesia, under its current government, can no longer be labeled a Muslim country that is risk-free for religious minorities. Even though, after exceptional international pressure, Indonesia's government cracked down on an the Al Qaeda affiliated group Jemaah Islamiyah, it has not yet even tried to apprehend other Islamist militants committing crimes against religious minorities. Indonesia, once a country of diversity, is now becoming a place for one-way Islam.
Reader comments on this item
|Too strong of a conclusion [314 words]||Scott Flipse||Jan 1, 2014 11:56|
|There is no Freedom of Religion in Islam [25 words]||Mira||Feb 12, 2013 02:13|
|↔ Qur'an - not from God [173 words]||Ken||Apr 27, 2013 16:30|
|Islam in Indonesia [49 words]||Balakrishnan||Feb 9, 2013 21:35|
|Diversity [189 words]||Bart Benschop||Feb 8, 2013 23:55|
|Indonesian Muslims leaving Islam [64 words]||Steven Buckley||Feb 7, 2013 18:14|
|It will happen. [124 words]||Valhalla||Feb 7, 2013 17:40|
|Non-Muslims are never forced to wear a veil [22 words]||Fadh Ahamd||Feb 7, 2013 05:46|
Comment on this item
by Khaled Abu Toameh
To understand what drives a young Palestinian to carry out such a deadly attack, one needs to look at the statements of Palestinian Authority leaders during the past few weeks.
The anti-Israel campaign of incitement reached its peak with Abbas's speech at the UN a few weeks ago, when he accused Israel of waging a "war of genocide" in the Gaza Strip. Abbas made no reference to Hamas's crimes against both Israelis and Palestinians.
Whatever his motives, it is clear that the man who carried out the most recent attack, was influenced by the messages that Abbas and the Palestinian Authority leadership have been sending their people.
by Richard Kemp
Would General Allen -- or any other general today -- recommend contracting out his country's defenses if it were his country at stake? Of course not.
The Iranian regime remains dedicated to undermining and ultimately destroying the State of Israel. The Islamic State also has Israel in its sights and would certainly use the West Bank as a point from which to attack, if it were open to them.
There can be no two-state solution and no sovereign Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan, however desirable those things might be. The stark military reality is that Israel cannot withdraw its forces from the West Bank.
Fatah leaders ally themselves with the terrorists of Hamas, and, like Hamas, they continue to reject the every existence of the State of Israel.
If Western leaders actually want to help, they should use all diplomatic and economic means to make it clear to the Palestinians that they will never achieve an independent and sovereign state while they remain set on the destruction of the State of Israel.
by Louis René Beres
The Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO], forerunner of today's Palestinian Authority, was founded in 1964, three years before Israel came into the unintended control of the West Bank and Gaza. What therefore was the PLO planning to "liberate"?
Why does no one expect the Palestinians to cease all deliberate and random violence against Israeli civilians before being considered for admission to statehood?
On June 30, 1922, a joint resolution of both Houses of Congress of the United States endorsed a "Mandate for Palestine," confirming the right of Jews to settle anywhere they chose between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. This is the core American legacy of support for a Jewish State that President Obama now somehow fails to recall.
A sovereign state of Palestine, as identified by the Arabs -- a Muslim land occupied by "Palestinian" Arabs -- has never existed; not before 1948, and not before 1967. From the start, it was, and continues to be, the Arab states -- not Israel -- that became the core impediment to Palestinian sovereignty.
by Timon Dias
It looks as if this new law is meant to serve as a severe roadblock to parties that would like to dismantle the EU in a democratic and peaceful way from within.
A rather dull semantic trick pro-EU figures usually apply, is calling their opponents "anti-Europe."
by Alan M. Dershowitz