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Cablegate: Sharia in Eastern Indonesia Waning

VZCZCXRO3035
RR RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJS #0109 3130944
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 090944Z NOV 09
FM AMCONSUL SURABAYA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0494
RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA 0483
INFO RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 0188
RUEHJS/AMCONSUL SURABAYA 0506
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0220
RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI

UNCLAS SURABAYA 000109

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV KISL KIRF ID
SUBJECT: SHARIA IN EASTERN INDONESIA WANING

1. Summary: While Aceh has gained international attention for
new laws mandating stoning for adultery and banning pants for
women, sharia law has gained little traction in Eastern
Indonesia. Since 2003, 11 local governments have issued just 16
bylaws, most commonly to mandate the giving of alms, but the
majority have been neither implemented nor enforced. While
local leaders on the island of Madura, a conservative island
located across a narrow strait from Surabaya, plan to pass three
sharia-based regulations in the coming year, they are not
expected to be enforced. End Summary.

2. Since 2003, 11 local-level governments across Eastern
Indonesia have issued 16 bylaws or circular letters (executive
orders) to implement certain aspects of sharia law. Seven of
the local governments passing sharia-based regulations are in
South Sulawesi; there are two each in Nusa Tengara Barat (NTB)
and East Java. Fourteen of these regulations were issued prior
to 2005; the remaining two were issued in 2007 and 2008. The
most common type of sharia law mandates payment of zakat, or
Islamic alms. Four regulations require various groups to be
able to recite the Koran or to wear Islamic dress. Other sharia
regulations include a ban on the sale of liquor during Ramadan,
a mandate that Muslim civil servants pray together in mosques at
prayer times, and a requirement that religious curriculum be
taught in public schools.

3. Nine of the 16 existing regulations are either not
implemented or unenforced. Four of the six regulations
regarding zakat remain unimplemented, in large part due to
public protest. For example, the Regent of East Lombok, in NTB,
issued a circular letter in 2003 which required that the regency
government deduct 2.5% from all civil servants' salaries to pay
zakat. According to Adhar Hakim, an IVLP alumnus, thousands of
teachers took to the streets in 2003 and 2005 to oppose the
letter; it remains unimplemented. Similarly, the City of
Makassar in South Sulawesi passed a law in 2003 that required
professionals such as doctors and lawyers to pay zakat; in 2005
the city passed a law extending the requirement to the general
public. However, Samsurijal Adhan, of the anti-sharia NGO
LAPAR, explained that widespread public criticism of the
measures forced the government to abandon implementation.

4. Some of the regulations that have been implemented have not
been enforced. For example, a 2003 law enacted by the Pamekasan
regency on the island of Madura, in East Java, required Muslim
civil servants to pray together in mosques at prayer times,
required that religious curriculum to be taught in public
schools, and instructed Muslims of both genders to wear
traditional Muslim clothing. While this law remains active,
there is no punishment for those who violate the law. Muhammad
Syarif, the former deputy rector of Trunojoyo Bangkalan
University in Madura, explained that the law is only a "call for
greater morality" to Muslims in Pamekasan.

5. The Regent of Bangkalan, also on Madura, hopes the regency's
parliament will pass three sharia-based regulations later this
year. According to Muhammad Syarif, Bangkalan's proposed sharia
laws include requirements that high school students be able to
recite the Koran, that female students wear "modest" Muslim
dress, and that post-graduate university students have a letter
affirming their good moral behavior during their previous
schooling. He said that the law is inspired by Pamekasan's
laws, and should also be viewed as a "call for greater morality"
to Muslims in the regency.

MCCLELLAND

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