These results contradict statements made by the mayors of Bekasi and Tangerang, who are in favour of the implementation of Islamic law, arguing that it is the will of the people who elected them. However, in Bekasi, only 42 per cent agrees with the mayor, whilst in Tangerang, support stands at 38 per cent.
Looking more closely, support for Sharia is even lower on specific issues. In March 2010, it dropped to 32 from 38 per cent from a year earlier as regards to cutting off the hands of thieves and publicly whipping adulterers to death.
Indonesia is the largest Muslim nation in the world. About 86 per cent of its 230 million people are Muslim; Catholics represent only 3 per cent.
For the past several years, Muslim extremists have targeted Christians in violent attacks.
Since the start of 2010, Muslim radicals in the city of Bekasi have disrupted Christian religious services, prevented Christians from holding Mass, destroyed Christian places of worship and stopped the construction of new churches.