The increasing influence of Sharia on a society consistently results in increasing harassment by official or unofficial enforcers of the law, a decrease in tolerance, and an increase in persecution. Indonesia has witnessed the onset of all of the above for a number of years.
Is there “no compulsion in religion?” According to Qur’an 2:256, yes, there is no compulsion in religion. But there are numerous forms of coercion enshrined in Islamic law, particularly those designed induce non-Muslims to convert or submit to Islamic rule. At the end of the day, those with the power, influence, and the force to back up their intention of imposing Sharia will have no use for the academic exercise of splitting hairs on where persuasion ends and “compulsion” begins.
“Mandatory veil and fasting as Indonesia is “˜Islamised” during Ramadan,” by Mathias Hariyadi for Asia News, August 4:
Jakarta (AsiaNews) — Wearing the veil for female public servants and fasting, including job loss if caught eating, are becoming compulsory in Indonesia. In some parts of the country, Ramadan has become a time of Islamisation with rules increasingly inspired by Sharia. For the authorities, fasting and praying have become compulsory, forcing Muslims to abstain from food and drink from dawn to dusk.
On Madura Island (East Java Province), Pamekasan District chief Kusairi issued a directive whereby all female employees must wear the jilbab, or headscarf. In order to promote conformity with Islamic principles, women street vendors have to conform to the obligation. For Kusairi, this will strengthen Muslim women’s faith.
Restaurants and nightclubs will also have to obey the rules. During Ramadan, such places must be closed during the day until dusk. Clubs, bars and places of nightly entertainment will close for the entire month.
Representatives of the extremist Islamic Defence Front (FPI) are out at night to strike against rule-breakers.
In Bengkulu District (Sumatra), Mayor Ahmad Kanesi said that any municipal workers caught breaking the fast would be fired. He offered a 1 million rupiah (US$ 118) reward to anyone who caught a Bengkulu civil servant breaking the fast.
With an estimated population of 231 million people (2009), Indonesia is the biggest Muslim country in the world. However, it is made up of different ethnic groups and has significant religious minorities.
Muslims (mostly Sunnis) represent 87 per cent of the total. Protestants are about 6.1 per cent whilst Catholics are 4 per cent. Hindus and Buddhists represent about 1 per cent.