By Phil  |  02-03-2018   News
Photo credit: Nikkei.com

Not surprisingly, the growth in influence of such militant Islamist groups as the Islamic Defenders Front and Hizbut Tahrir expands in Indonesia, the Islamic fundamentalist perspective expands its reach within the country. An example of this would be the recent decision amongst lawmakers in Indonesia to ban sex between unmarried couples and gays. Many Indonesian Muslims are more moderate, but the expansion of hardline laws may be a sign of tides turning in the Southeast Asian nation.

Though there are six secular parties currently in control of the Indonesian House, it appears they are not willing to marginalize their Muslim voters before the June elections, so the possibility of increasing Islamization in Indonesia is a distinctly real possibility. A real turning point was in late 2016 when the Islamic hardliners organized large Muslim rallies that eventually led to Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama being imprisoned on charges of blasphemy. Former Governor Purnama was previously a popular leader despite Chinese and Christian background.

<blockquote>"I'm sure the National Human Rights Commission shares our view to reject the existence of LGBT, and I'm sure it will even support expansion [of punishment for] LGBT perpetrators," House speaker Bambang Soesatyo of the Golkar Party, the second-largest secular party in the House, said last week.</blockquote>

A state-funded rights commission has said they are still "studying" the matter and currently declining official comment. If this law passes pre-marital and gay sex could be punished by up to five years imprisonment. Hanafi Rais, an Islamic lawmaker from the National Mandate Party is fighting to extend the definition of LGBT and some lawmakers are hoping to allow for the imprisonment for those who "campaign for LGBT, justify LGBT and mobilize" any support for the LGBT community.

One clause even allows a one-year sentence for couples who cohabitate before marriage regardless of sexual activity. For now, the four Islamic parties in the House may have only a small minority of seats, but many shariah-inspired campaigns are set to do well as many lawmakers from the other six parties are afraid to lose popular support ahead of June's regional elections. Indonesia is currently the world's most populous Muslim majority country.

Source:

https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/Indonesian-lawmakers-push-to-outlaw-unmarried-and-gay-sex

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