07/26/2010, 00.00
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Support for Sharia drops by 10 per cent in Indonesia

Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim country. The mayors of Bekasi and Tangerang continue to demand the implementation of Sharia. However, just over one third of people in a recent survey agrees; that is 10 per cent lower than a year ago. In March, only 32 per cent was in favour of chopping off the hands of thieves or whipping adulterers to death.
Jakarta (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Support for Sharia has dropped in Indonesia. When asked whether “Sharia should be introduced in my area”, the number of respondents in favour of the proposition declined from 43 per cent to 36 per cent between April 2009 and March 2010. The results are taken from a survey conducted by Roy Morgan Single Source, a highly respected Australian-based public opinion poll firm. The findings reflect the views of over 85 per cent of the population, 14 years of age and older.

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.

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