Sharia in action in modern, moderate Indonesia: House mulling total ban on alcohol

“There’s really no such thing as just Sharia, it’s not one monolithic Continuum – Sharia is understood in thousands of different ways over the 1,500 years in which multiple and competing schools of law have tried to construct some kind of civic penal and family law code that would abide by Islamic values and principles, it’s understood in many different ways…” — Reza Aslan

And yet whenever we see Sharia implemented, it looks the same. Now, why is that?

“House to Mull Bill Banning Alcoholic Beverages in Indonesia,” by Markus Junianto Sihaloho for the Jakarta Globe, December 20 (thanks to Lookmann):

Indonesia would introduce stiff penalties for the consumption of all alcoholic beverages under a controversial bill drafted by the country”s oldest Islamic party, which is seeking an effective ban on the sale, production and consumption of alcohol in the Muslim-majority nation.

Hard alcohol is already heavily regulated in Indonesia, where hefty taxes contribute to some of the highest prices in the region and local bylaws limit the open sale of liquor in some regions.

The proposed legislation, drafted by the United Development Party (PPP), would go further, effectively banning all alcohol, including domestically produced beer like Bintang, in a push that would make Indonesia a dry country.

Those caught consuming alcohol could face up to two years in prison. Distributors would face up to five years in prison while producers could face a maximum of 10 years.

“This will be a total ban, and not just an attempt to regulate production, distribution and consumption of alcohol,” Arwani Thomafi, the PPP secretary at the House of Representatives, said on Thursday.

The bill is among 70 priority bills scheduled for deliberation next year.

The party introduced the bill to bring the nation “in line with religious guidelines” as well as address the negative impact of excessive alcohol consumption on people’s health, Arwani said.

He claimed that alcohol consumption had spurred a rise in crime and offered no significant contribution to state revenue.

Tourist areas and “certain ethnicities” might be spared the ban, Arwani said. He did not explain which tourist areas or ethnic groups would be allowed to drink alcohol under the ban.

Arwani brushed off any potential controversy the bill might generate during its deliberation as a normal part of the legislative process.

“I think it’s part of the usual dynamics in bill deliberations,” he said.

Arwani also confirmed that the bill had been included in next year’s list of priority legislation at the expense of a much-criticized bill to amend the law on the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).

“The alcohol bill has been included in the list of 2013 priority legislation to replace the KPK law revision. There are 19 bills that are still being drafted. A total of 58 new bills have been included in the list of priority legislation,” he said.

He insisted that alcohol was banned in every religion because it could endanger people’s lives….

Yep. Every last one.

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Comments

  1. says

    Of course, the self styled prophet of Islam, Mohammed, was a walking brewery – as we all are!!

    The human body produces its own alcohol called endogenous ethanol. There’s enough to skew the results of breathalyser tests.

    So, if God saw fit to design us this way, who has the right to criticise the production of alcohol?

    Clowns!

  2. says

    It’s actually true that Sharia law used to mean different things in different places. That’s is how it historically developed throughout the Middle East. The idea was that new tribes that (forcefully) were converted to Islam throughout the Middle East would have an Islamic law system that is compatible with their tribal traditions – a smart move on the part of the Islamic conquerers. That is why Sharia law was originally not codified but instead was open to interpretation by local Islamic judges and scholars. Sharia law was then codified by the Ottomans and became the same everywhere (which was actually not the original intent).

    But regardless, whatever law system operates within Arab and Muslim countries certainly does not contribute to the peacefulness of these places – as is evident here: Mass murder in the Muslim world – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuWktr5FqJE

  3. says

    It’s actually true that Sharia law used to mean different things in different places. That’s is how it historically developed throughout the Middle East. The idea was that new tribes that (forcefully) were converted to Islam throughout the Middle East would have an Islamic law system that is compatible with their tribal traditions – a smart move on the part of the Islamic conquerers. That is why Sharia law was originally not codified but instead was open to interpretation by local Islamic judges and scholars. Sharia law was then codified by the Ottomans and became the same everywhere (which was actually not the original intent).

    But regardless, whatever law system operates within Arab and Muslim countries certainly does not contribute to the peacefulness of these places – as is evident here: Mass murder in the Muslim world – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuWktr5FqJE

  4. says

    Gee. It worked so well for the US. I’ll bet it works even better for Indonesia.

    But I don’t live there. I don’t vote there, and I really couldn’t care less how they live…

  5. says

    From the article – “He insisted that alcohol was banned in every religion..”.

    Ignorant or a liar.

    For the exact reverse is in fact the case.

    Judaism discourages drunkenness but does not forbid the drinking of wine. That much is plain from the TaNaKh, in which we read in the Psalms of ‘wine, that doth make glad the heart of man’, and in which the Song of Solomon represents the lovers going for a walk in a vineyard. The vineyard, indeed, is used more than once as a parabolic metaphor for the House of Israel.

    Yeshua of Nazareth, a good Jew who loved life, turned water into wine (and very, very *good* wine, at that) at a Jewish wedding in Cana in Galilee (his mother had quietly asked him if he could help, since something had gone badly wrong with the catering arrangements). And he drank it himself, at the Last Supper. The best-known early follower of Jesus, Shaul/ Paul of Tarsus, told his disciple Timothy to ‘take a little wine, for thy stomach’s sake’.

    The Christian Church in general – following the example already set by its parent, Judaism – has historically sought to encourage moderation in the use of wine and other alcoholic beverages, and has discouraged excess, but it has never made total abstinence an article of faith. Certain subdivisions of the church and occasional individuals and groups within the church, for particular reasons, have chosen to practise abstinence from alcohol, as a discipline; but they have never been in the majority. In fact there’s at least one very strict monastery, in Germany, that is said to support itself economically by brewing perfectly *heavenly* beer.

    I don’t know what Shinto or Buddhism or Confucius or the Tao or the Hindu texts say about alcohol; what I do know is that in both Japan and China rice wine and other alcoholic beverages are made and drunk, and that Buddhist Thailand drinks beer. And I don’t get the impression that modern Hindu Indians are strict teetotallers.

    A ‘quick and dirty’ overview available at wikipedia confirms a commonsensical assumption: most human societies historic and contemporary have had some kind of alcoholic beverage (that was even true of the 8000-years-isolated-from-everyone-else Tasmanian Aborigines, who used to go up to the highlands in summer to make merry on the highly-fermentable sap of the aptly-named Cider Gum) and most belief-systems have permitted its use, encouraging moderation and disapproving of excess. An outright total ban, such as Islam has coded into sharia and periodically attempts to enforce on everybody in Islamic lands (and would like to force upon all of humanity), is very, very rare.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_alcoholic_beverages

    Islam’s attempt to totally ban something (alcohol) that pretty well all the rest of humanity has enjoyed for millennia is – like its ban on pet dogs, music, and representational art and sculpture – simply antihuman.

  6. says

    Alcohol & Hindus

    After conducting some rituals,Hindus consumed two intoxicating beverages called ‘soma’ and ‘sura’, as per ancient Vedic texts.

    One or two Indian states have officially banned sales of liquor,where locally made[toxic] brew takes couple of lives every year.

    The opposition to liquor is mainly due to the fact that poor labour class spends most of its hard-earned money on alcohol,giving nothing or pittance to their families.

    The middle & upper classes are consuming more alcohol now.one or two
    Indian made whisky brands are among the top ten in the world.

    One Indian state admn,.which took over the sale of liquor,reported a turnover of 3.5 billion US $,in a financial year.A 180 ml bottle of
    rum/whisky costs a little less than 2 dollars.Imagine the quantity consumed!
    [Remember,this is just one state]
    So any opposition to liquor in India is purely social/political and has nothing to do with religion.

  7. says

    “House mulling total ban on alcohol”

    Well, Christmas is the traditional time for mulling, (usually wine) but as usual the mohammedans have misunderstood!

    FYI, Indonesia, what you should be doing is pouring a bottle of red wine into a saucepan, adding half an orange, a couple of ounces of sugar, a bay-leaf,a stick of cinnamon, and a good pinch of ground nutmeg.
    Stir gently over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved, and serve immediately!

    Happy Christmas Indonesia!
    And everyone else here, of course!

  8. says

    As one who was travelling to Indonesia regularly, I believe that this law will be thrown out by the Indonesian parliament.

    From my observations, with the exception of reltively a few nut cases, Insonesian Islam is quite different to Middle East Islam in which I grew up in close proximity.