AP blames America for this, but really, if Indonesians didn’t already accept the idea of violent jihad in principle, would they really be swayed to join it? In other words, if they abhorred violent jihad as we always hear that moderate Muslims do, wouldn’t they shun it no matter what?
From The Associated Press, with thanks to Twostellas:
JAKARTA, Indonesia: Women are jailed for being on the street alone after dark in parts of Indonesia, long held up as a beacon of moderate Islam. Gamblers are caned as punishment, Christian schoolchildren are forced to wear headscarves and a proposed law would sentence thieves to amputation of the hands.
Though most people in the world’s most populous Muslim nation practice a tolerant form of the faith, a small but determined group of conservatives are chipping away at the sprawling archipelago’s secular traditions and trying to reshape it in the image of orthodox Middle Eastern countries.
And they are slowly gaining ground, in part, critics say, because President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, liberal Muslim leaders and society at large have stayed away from loud, public debate on the issue….
Why have they done that? Why haven’t they engaged the hardliners on doctrinal grounds? If the true Islam is peaceful, it can’t be that difficult to do, can it? Yet we almost never see it being done. Why is that?
More than 50 legislative bodies “” from westernmost Sumatra island to Sulawesi further east “” have passed laws inspired by the Islamic legal code, or Sharia, to regulate moral behavior.
On a federal level, hard-liners are pushing an anti-pornography bill that calls for prison terms of up to five years for kissing in public and one year for exposure of a woman’s “sensual” body parts, though few expect it to pass in its present form.
“I call it creeping Sharia-ization of our society,” said Syafi’i Anwar, executive director of the Jakarta-based International Center for Islam and Pluralism, noting that because Muslim groups have done poorly in national elections they are pushing their will through the “back door.”
Many people remain silent for fear of being labeled unIslamic, analysts note. Others share concerns of conservatives about moral decay “” pointing to girls in miniskirts, Playboy magazines hawked on street corners “” albeit in a toned down Indonesian version “” and offerings of alcohol on restaurant menus.
But why would they be labeled un-Islamic, if the true Islam is against all this?
And the remainder do not care about the Islamic legislation or fail to see any danger from it….
Irfan Awwas, chairman of Majelis Mujahidin Indonesia, worries that the country is suffering from moral decay, and says Islamic-based laws, or anti-sinful behavior regulations as he calls them, are necessary.
“Look around you, existing criminal codes have done nothing,” says Awwas, whose group is pushing to impose Sharia nationwide, a notion rejected since Indonesian independence in 1945.
He insists the Islamic laws do not violate the constitution or Indonesia’s state ideology Pancasila, which promotes multiculturalism and religious harmony.
Some religious leaders say rising anger over U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, seen by many here as attacks on their faith, have added to the legitimacy of hard-liners….