Defending a plan in Tasikmalaya, West Java, to establish Shariah-inspired bylaws, the Islamic Defenders Front defended the constitutionality of the proposal on Friday and urged its implementation.
“The Jakarta Charter, the content of which is the same as the opening of the Constitution, stated: ‘Belief in one supreme God with mandatory Islamic Shariah for its believers,’ ” said Munarman, a spokesman for the organization commonly known as FPI. “So the implementation of Islamic Shariah is constitutional.”
The Jakarta Charter of 1945 was adopted by the drafters of the Constitution as the founding document’s preamble, with some adjustments. Indonesian founding father M. Hatta rejected the “mandatory Islamic Shariah for its believers” provision, considering that many people in eastern Indonesia were not Muslims. All the drafters agreed to delete that part.
However Munarman, who was referring to the rejected version of the Constitution, said instead that banning regions from implementing Shariah was against the Constitution. His statement came after Home Affairs Minister Gamawan Fauzi prohibited the Tasikmalaya municipality from establishing Shariah as the implementation of the region’s 2009 bylaw on people’s life and norms based on Islamic teachings. Gamawan said that maintaining security and order was the obligation of the central government, so establishing a Shariah police force would go against the Regional Autonomy Law.
“Bylaws should not consist of things that are not the authority of the region,” Gamawan said on Friday. “So, there is no way such a bylaw will be agreed. We will fix it.”
The bylaw would require women to wear headscarves outdoors and would prohibit unmarried men and women from being alone together.
In Indonesia, Shariah police exist only in Aceh, which has been granted special autonomy to conduct Islamic Shariah-based government. Enforcement by police there has courted controversy, including arresting punk music fans and patrolling the streets for people deemed to be wearing clothes that fit too tightly.