Absent as ever, of course, is any recognition of these punishments’ origins in the Qur’an and in Muhammad’s own example, though in this case that is as much the fault of the reporting as the apparent omissions in the statement from Human Right’s Watch. “New Indonesia stoning law is ‘torture’: rights group,” from Agence France-Presse, October 12:
JAKARTA — A new law mandating death by stoning for adulterers in Indonesia’s deeply Islamic Aceh province advocates “torture” and should be overturned, US-based group Human Rights Watch said Monday.
“Stoning and flogging constitute torture in any circumstances,” Human Rights Watch Asia head Elaine Pearson said in a statement.
Stoning, according to Bukhari 8.82.16: “‘Umar said, “I am afraid that after a long time has passed, people may say, “We do not find the Verses of the Rajam (stoning to death) in the Holy Book,” and consequently they may go astray by leaving an obligation that Allah has revealed. Lo! I confirm that the penalty of Rajam be inflicted on him who commits illegal sexual intercourse, if he is already married and the crime is proved by witnesses or pregnancy or confession.” Sufyan added, “I have memorized this narration in this way.” ‘Umar added, “Surely Allah’s Apostle carried out the penalty of Rajam, and so did we after him.”
“Imposing these draconian punishments on private, consensual conduct means the government can dictate people’s intimate lives.”
That’s Sharia for you. Even proponents of Islamic law will note that it is comprehensive, and prescribes proper conduct for every aspect of life. For that matter, theocratic systems do not lend themselves to limitations on power.
The law — which also allows punishments of up to 400 lashes for child rape, 100 lashes for homosexual acts and 60 lashes for gambling — was passed unanimously last month by lawmakers in the staunchly Islamic region.
It has yet to be approved by the provincial governor and is opposed by the central government in Jakarta.
The law, based on local interpretations of Islamic or sharia law, is supposed to replace elements of Indonesia’s criminal code.
It allows the death penalty for a married person and 100 lashes for an unmarried person found guilty of adultery.
Qur’an 24:2 (emphasis added): “The woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication,- flog each of them with a hundred stripes: Let not compassion move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by Allah, if ye believe in Allah and the Last Day: and let a party of the Believers witness their punishment.”
Human Rights Watch urged the central government and a new incoming local parliament in Aceh to overturn the law.
A foreign ministry spokesman, Teuku Faizasyah, told AFP the law would not come into effect without the approval of Aceh Governor Irwandi Yusuf, who has stated his opposition to the law.
“Even if local government approves it, if the central government thinks it’s not in line with national law, the central government can ask it to overturn or annul the law,” he said,
“The central government wants to make it clear that the law and legislation at the provincial level should not in any way contradict the law and legislation promulgated at the national level.”
Here’s the kicker:
Aceh had previously adopted a milder form of sharia law in 2001 as part of an autonomy package from Jakarta aimed at quelling separatist sentiment.
Aceh thus demonstrates once again that any Sharia is a slippery slope toward more Sharia, for just as the system does not lend itself to limitations on power, a code of conduct that is supposed to be divinely ordained does not lend itself to compartmentalization. Accordingly, the proponents of Islamic law, including those threatening or waging jihad to impose it, will not be satisfied with just a little Sharia.
Nearly 90 percent of Indonesia’s 234 million people are Muslim, but the country also has significant Hindu, Buddhist, Christian and Confucian minorities. Most local Muslims practise a moderate form of the religion.
There’s that obligatory article of faith — if it’s only a Tiny Minority of Extremists, we can all more or less relax, right?