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    » 06/11/2012, 00.00

    INDONESIA

    West Java: Tasikmalaya authorities impose Sharia law and compulsory veil

    Mathias Hariyadi

    The objective is to strengthen moral and traditional values. The "morals police " that does not refer to the Islamic courts, but to civil justice. Jakarta politician: "unconstitutional and discriminatory." Protests of women: the veil is not a "matter of state" but a personal choice.

    Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Activists and members of civil society in different parts of Indonesia have strongly criticized the proposal of the authority of the District of Tasikmalaya (West Java) to introduce norms inspired by sharia, or Islamic law, by mid-July ahead of the start of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting and prayer. The obligations will be the imposition of the veil for all women - foreign and local, and non-Muslim - better known in the archipelago as the jilbab.

    The officials of the municipalities also plan to form a local "moral police", called to ensure compliance with the rules laid down in Islamic law and trials in courts against anyone who breaks the rules. However, the authority considers the application of Sharia law will not be the same as in the province of Aceh. The "moral police", in fact, will not report the culprits to the Islamic courts, but to civil courts which will issue fines or penalties.

    Since 2009 the municipality of Tasikmalaya has been discussing the introduction of Islamic law, among the reasons for the choice, according to the Mayor Syarif Hidayat, the fact that the city is an overwhelming Muslim majority. The rules will also govern the conduct of life of unmarried men and women, including a norm banning women from leaving the house alone. All of this, the promoters feel, aims to minimize behavior that is "contrary to morality" such as premarital sex among adolescents and adults.

    After weeks of controversy and confrontation, the mayor Syarif Hidayat has broken his silence to deny the hypothesis of a strict application of Islamic law. What we want to "impose" warned the official, only "local rules" which aim to promote "social and moral values" according to the dictates of Islam and local traditions of Tasikmalaya.

    "I do hope - said Hidayat - that the city of Tasikmalaya will be freed from all kinds of misleading conduct, which disadvantages  everybody". And that he will not force "non-Muslims" to practice specific Islamic morals, but there are some "customs" that all are equally bound to respect.

    Meanwhile, the proposal has sparked controversy and criticism. In Jakarta Eva Kusuma Sundari, a national politician strongly condemns the plan, saying that the laws inspired by sharia are "unconstitutional and discriminatory." Even in the same Tasikmalaya dozens of Muslim women protested vigorously, pointing out that the imposition of the veil "is not a matter of state" but a personal choice.

     

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    See also

    12/01/2013 INDONESIA - ISLAM
    Further implementation of Sharia in Aceh to cause greater social tensions
    Many fear a split between fundamentalist and moderate Muslims. Political expediency and poor governance are the driving force behind the province's islamisation. Critics slam the province's morality police for its crackdown on deviant behaviour. In 2012, 50 cases of Sharia-related violence were recorded.

    17/09/2007 INDONESIA
    Catholic students forced to wear the Islamic veil
    It is happening in schools in the North of Sumatra. A Christian family raises the alarm, their daughters “have no other choice” but to dress according to Islamic customs. This is imposed by some local norms inspired by Sharia, which should only effect Muslim citizens.

    07/03/2009 INDONESIA
    East Java, policewomen must wear Islamic veil
    The new chief of police has issued a "nonbinding" order for all women in uniform. Police officers are also asked to pray five times a day. The headquarters in Java has approved the norm, and says that the agents are "free" to decide whether to follow it.

    30/01/2009 INDONESIA
    Senior Muslim clerics in Jakarta oppose suicide bombers and radical Islam
    Religious leaders in Indonesia’s capital back national unity and view democracy as the best form of government. Almost three quarters (74 per cent) are not against the separation of state and religion; 80 per cent reject the notion that violence is necessary to spread Muslim religion.

    07/08/2007 INDONESIA
    Elections in Jakarta, Catholic’s fear an “Islamic Governor”
    Tomorrow citizens in the capital will choose a new governor. On the eve of the vote, the Archdiocese’ Commission for Apostolate to the lay writes a letter warning of the risks of a victory of candidates linked to the PKS: “Although it has not openly declared its intent, the party aims to introduce sharia and uproot the principals of the Constitution”.



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