----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Holy Uncle 
  To: National ; media care 
  Sent: Sunday, August 24, 2008 10:43 AM
  Subject: [mediacare] New court head slams sharia bylaws


  New court head slams sharia bylaws 


  Abdul Khalik, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta 

  Less than 24 hours after being sworn in as the new head of the Constitutional 
Court, Moh. Mahfud M.D. on Friday slammed regional administrations for enacting 
sharia-inspired bylaws. 

  The enforcement of sharia-based ordinances threatens national integrity and 
runs counter to the state ideology (Pancasila) principles of social justice, 
since they discriminate against minority groups, he said. 

  "Sharia bylaws are not constitutionally or legally correct because, 
territorially and ideologically, they threaten our national integrity," Mahfud 
told top military officers attending a training program on the amended 
Constitution and human rights. 

  On Tuesday, Indonesian Military chief Gen. Djoko Santoso, who opened the 
Friday training program, warned against attempts to establish an Islamic state 
or alter state ideology. 

  Such activities are categorized as "acts of treason", the four-star Army 
general said. 

  Mahfud, who served as defense minister under the Abdurrahman "Gus Dur' Wahid 
administration, said local ordinances should not be enacted simply to cater to 
a region's religious demographic. 

  "This means 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," he said. 

  Mahfud said in addition to threatening national integrity, sharia-based 
ordinances also violated all basic principles used as a yardstick to determine 
whether a law was constitutional. 

  Under these principles, a law or regulation must serve to strengthen 
democracy and social justice, as well as promote religious tolerance in a 
civilized way, he said. 

  He added the implementation of sharia would discriminate against the weak and 
minority groups, leaving them out of the national system and without 
protection. 

  Dozens of regions have enacted sharia bylaws despite warnings the ordinances 
could deprive women and non-Muslims of their civil rights. 

  These bylaws include requiring Koran literacy for students and brides, 
enforcing Islamic dress code on Muslim women and skewed anti-prostitution 
regulations that punish only women and not men. 

  Critics say many of the ordinances were drafted by unqualified people, with 
no transparency or public participation, and aimed solely at wooing Muslim 
voters. 

  The government has pledged to review 37 sharia-based ordinances in force in 
several regions across the country which have been dubbed discriminatory and in 
violation of higher existing laws. 

  Human rights activists were quick to praise Mahfud's bold statement, saying 
sharia bylaws violated human rights principles. 

  "It's a bold and brave statement from the new Constitutional Court chief. We 
should support him," said Refendi Djamin of the Human Rights Working Group. 

  Senior Golkar Party lawmaker Theo Sambuaga echoed Mahfud's views, saying such 
ordinances brought about "disintegrative affects" on the pluralistic nation. 

  They criticized politicians for endorsing these bylaws in a bid to win 
support from Muslim voters in local elections. 

  Several major parties that openly back sharia bylaws include the United 
Development Party (PPP), the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) and the Crescent 
Star Party (PBB). 

  Enactment of the bylaws has received support from several Golkar politicians, 
including the incumbent Tangerang mayor, who promote them for their own 
political gains. 

  http://old.thejakartapost.com/[EMAIL PROTECTED]&irec=0 

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