The “Ramadan gift” that this law was intended to be came a little late, but in the end, creeping sharia took a significant step forward. “The Indonesian parliament adopts anti-pornography bill,” by Mathias Hariyadi for AsiaNews, October 30:
Jakarta (AsiaNews) — With opposition MPs absent, Indonesia’s parliament approved an anti-porn bill that was welcomed by supporters who loudly rejoiced with prayers to Allah. In online newspaper forums many ordinary citizens reacted angrily however, slamming what they consider a step backward for Indonesia and an “obscurantist” decision.
Today the lower house in Indonesia’s parliament approved the controversial anti-pornography bill, known in Bahasa Indonesia as Undang-undang Pornografi, Uu App. Since it was tabled it has been at the centre of intense discussions because it is seen as a step towards introducing Sharia law into the country”s legal system along the lines of Saudi Arabia.
In recent weeks human rights activists and representatives of political and religious minorities, including the Catholic Church, have strenuously objected to the law.
According to its critics, the law eliminates “cultural” differences and undermines “national unity”. As it stands it is all but an attempt by Muslim fundamentalists to introduce Islamic law into the country”s legal system.
The anti-porn law was approved almost unanimously but MPs for the Indonesian Democracy Struggle Party (PDIP) and the Christian-based Prosperous Peace Party (PDS) were not in the house in protest against the bill.
A supporter of the new law named Lasmiantini, a member of a group called Salima or Muslim Sisters, felt great about it.
“Inshallah, God willing, Indonesia shall finally see the rebirth of morality,” she said.
“We are happy,” she added, “because we won the battle to defend our children and it [the law] will also protect women.”
“Educational TV programmes” will be promoted “to improve moral values as the basis of society.
Pro-law activists said that the legislation can be improved to “avoid excesses”, denying at the same time that negative views were expressed “against the bill in some provinces.”
Meuthia Hatta, daughter of Mohammad Hatta, one of Indonesia’s founding fathers, noted that the law “does not violate the principles of freedom of expression” but instead protects people from the harm done by pornography…
Interestingly, that sounds a lot like Eklemeddin İhsanoğlu‘s contention that people should be allowed to “criticize” whatever they wish, but there are “red lines” that must not be crossed. What becomes all-important is who is in charge of drawing those “red lines,” and in both cases, the agenda influencing where and how they are drawn is obvious.