3 Things You Should Know About Indonesia’s Growing Radicalization

Sharia police in Indonesia escort a woman sentenced to public caning

(1) Former governor of Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, commonly known as Ahok, can pinpoint his loss to Anies Baswedan in this year’s gubernatorial election to a criminal trial in which he was found guilty of blasphemy against Islam.

Ahok, a Christian, was charged with blasphemy after he quoted a verse from the Quran to prove that, according to Islam, Muslims are allowed to vote for a non-Muslims.

(2) The campaign against Ahok and his subsequent loss in the election are symptoms of the growing Islamization of Indonesia.

The anti-Ahok campaign was supported by Islamist groups like Hizbut Tahrir — which aims to bring create a strict Sharia-based state — where adulterers are stoned and thieves have their hand amputated and the Salafists, a Saudi-based movement which strives for a return to the “purest” form of Islam (i.e., that which was practiced by Mohammed himself and the first generations of Muslims).

(3) The type of government these groups desire already exists in Indonesia’s Aceh province.

Sharia law was instituted in Aceh in 2001 and has grown increasingly strict.

Today in Aceh, women are required by law to dress modestly, alcohol is largely banned, and adultery, homosexuality, various displays of “immodesty” between men and women as well as other crimes are punished by public caning.

Non-Muslims and tourists are also subject to sharia punishments in Aceh.


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