* Newsflash: Now Clinton sux up to the Mullahs:
* In the seventies I spent a couple of years in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. Â Nowhere, I repeat: nowhere did I see hijab, or so-called Islamic dress. This, of course, is the influence of Arab money, mosques and thousands of young Indonesians or Malays returning from working in the Emirates, where they get indoctrinated with the real Islam. With promises of money and heavenly rewards they spread the ideological poison upon their return. Islam is a work in progress:Â
Modern, Moderate Indonesia gets less modern, less moderate as sharia-based laws creep into half of provinces
The injustices inherent in sharia by modern standards of equal dignity and protection under the law are compounded by the fact that sharia knows no concept of limitations on the power of government, except as outlined by divine fiat. In Indonesia as in the West, there exists the substantial risk that an inattentive or deceived populace will simply take it on faith (no pun intended) that sharia encroachment will stop on its own once there is “enough” sharia and “reasonable” accommodations are made.
“Indonesia – Sharia-based laws creep into half of provinces,” fromÂ Compass Direct News, February 2:
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Women pray in a mosque in Banda Aceh. Recently imposedÂ
Sharia laws require women to wear headscarves, and the province’s newly formed Sharia police have carried out arrests of women who are not properly covered up. Religious conservatism is on the rise in Banda Aceh and some larger towns across the province
* So if Muslim women tell you they Â wear a hijab because it is their ‘choice’- what choice do they really have? Hijab or death?Â
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â * Learn how to beat your wife correctly, in the old Islamic fashion
DUBLIN, February 2 (Compass Direct News) â€“ As candidates hit the campaign trail in preparation for Indonesia’s presidential election in July, rights groups have voiced strong opposition to an increasing number of sharia-inspired laws introduced by local governments. They say the laws discriminate against religious minorities and violate Indonesia’s policy of Pancasila, or “unity in diversity.”
With legislative elections coming in April and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono likely to form a coalition with several Islamic parties for the July presidential election, such laws could become a key campaign issue.
Although Aceh is the only province completely governed by sharia (Islamic law), more than 50 regencies in 16 of 32 provinces throughout Indonesia have passed laws influenced by sharia. These laws became possible following the enactment of the Regional Autonomy Law in 2000.
The form of these laws varies widely.Â Legislation in Padang, West Sumatra, requires both Muslim and non-Muslim women to wear headscarves, while a law in Tangerang allows women found “loitering” alone on the street after 10 p.m. to be arrested and charged with prostitution.Other laws include stipulations for Quran literacy among schoolchildren and severe punishment for adultery, alcoholism and gambling.
“Generally the legal system regulates and guarantees religious freedom of Indonesian citizens … but in reality, discrimination prevails,” a lawyer from the legal firm Eleonora and Partners told Compass.
Some regencies have adopted sharia in a way that further marginalizes minority groups, according to Syafi’I Anwar, executive director of the International Center for Islam and Pluralism.
“For instance,Â the Padang administration issued a law requiring all schoolgirls, regardless of their religion, to wear the headscarf,”Â he told the International Herald Tribune. This is unacceptable because it is not in line with the pluralism that the constitution recognizes.”
Freedom of religion is guaranteed by Article 29 of the country’s constitution, he added. “Therefore the government must assist all religious communities to practice their beliefs as freely as possible and take actions against those who violate that right.”
While Indonesia’s largest Muslim group, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), has publicly denounced the implementation of such laws, other groups actively support them. The Committee for the Implementation and Maintenance of Islamic Law (KPPSI) has held several congresses in Makassar, South Sulawesi with the goal of passing sharia-inspired legislation and obtaining special autonomy for the province, similar to that in Aceh.
KPPSI has also encouraged members to vote for politicians who share their goals, according to local news agency Komintra.
In February of last year, Home Affairs Minister Mardiyanto declared that the government saw no need to nullify some 600 sharia-inspired laws passed by local governments.Â His announcement came after a group of lawyers in June 2007 urged the government to address laws that discriminated against non-Muslims.
Moderates were alarmed at Mardiyanto’s decision, fearing it would encourage other jurisdictions to pass similar laws. Last August, Dr. Mohammad Mahfud, newly re-elected as head of the Constitutional Court, slammed regional administrations for enacting sharia-inspired laws.
“[These] laws are not constitutionally or legally correct because, territorially and ideologically, they threaten our national integrity,” he told top military officers attending a training program on human rights, according to The Jakarta Post.
Mahfud contended that if Indonesia allowed sharia-based laws, “then Bali can pass a Hindu bylaw, or North Sulawesi can have a Christian ordinance. If each area fights for a religious-based ordinance, then we face a national integration problem.” According to Mahfud, sharia-based laws would promote religious intolerance and leave minority religious groups without adequate legal protection.
Under the 2000 Regional Autonomy Law, the central government has the power to block provincial laws but showed little willingness to do so until recently when, bowing to pressure from advocacy groups, it pledged to review 37 sharia-based ordinances deemed discriminatory and at odds with the constitution….
Indonesia: Women prefer divorce to polygamy in Islamic courtJakarta, 2 Feb. (AKI) – A growing number of Muslim women are choosing to file for divorce rather than continue in a polygamous marriage, according to data from Islamic courts in Indonesia.Â Â Â Â Â
The number of women who cited polygamy as a reason for seeking divorce rose from 813 in 2004 to over 1,000 in 2006, according to Nasaruddin Umar, senior representative of Indonesia’s religious affairs ministry.
“There has been a significant increase in divorce because women have been rejecting polygamy in recent years,” he said, quoted by the Indonesian daily, The Jakarta Post.Â
Umar said he believed the number of divorce cases linked to disputes over polygamous marriages increased again in 2008 and would continue to rise throughout 2009.
These statistics have prompted the ministry to consider organising marital guidance courses in Indonesia, Umar said.Â
Siti Musdah Mulia, a leading female Indonesian Muslim scholar, believed the figures indicate that Muslim women were becoming increasingly aware of their rights and also more economically independent.Â
“The data shows women are now daring to fight for their rights and reject male domination. They are now saying: ‘What is the point in continuing a marriage when I am miserable'”, she said.Â
Mulia, a lecturer at the State Islamic University in Jakarta, said women were becoming more independent and educated, two factors leading to a greater sense of worth and place.Â
She said Muslim women were becoming increasingly aware of their rights and potential, thanks to the efforts of non-governmental organisations and women activists who have launched campaigns against polygamy.Â
“This is a good sign. Efforts by organizations to raise awareness surrounding women’s rights has begun to pay off, even with discussions surrounding polygamy seeing a revival among Muslims with the release of the movie Ayat-ayat Cinta (Verses of Love),” said Legislator Nursyahbani Katjasungkana of the conservative leaning National Awakening Party (PKB).Â
Verses of Love, a film about the conditions experienced by women in polygamous relationships, was one of Indonesia’s blockbuster films last year. Along with millions who flocked to see it, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Vice President Jusuf Kalla, also made prominent appearances at cinemas to see the movie.Â
Many high-ranking officials praised the film while activists accused it of acting as propaganda encouraging polygamy.Â
Meanwhile, polygamy is legal and on the rise across Indonesia – the world’s most populous Muslim country.Â
The Legal Aid Foundation of the Indonesian Women’s Association for Justice (LBH APIK) received 87 reports of polygamy last year, up from 16 in 2007.Â
These statistics are only the tip of the iceberg and in rural areas of the country, men often take multiple ‘wives’ to a religious ceremony, to whom they are not legally wed.
Current Indonesian law allows a man to marry up to three wives, either if the other wives consent or if they are unable to have children.Â