"Legalizing Shari'a (Islamic Law) and Its Impact on the 'Pancasila State' in Indonesia: the Case of Shari'a Regulations (Perda Shari'a)"

Dr. Abubakar Eby Hara (CSEAS visiting research fellow and lecture, Faculty of Social Science and Political Science, University of Jember )
15:30-17:30, October 17 (Tue), 2006
E207, 2nd floor of CSEAS East Building

This presentation examines the durability of new Indonesia democracy based on Pancasila ideology in facing efforts to form an Islamic state. In last effort after being unsuccessful to get support in national level, the supporters of pro-Islamic state use autonomy system in Indonesia to promote shari’a regulations in some districts and cities. In contrast to the New Order regime which restricted categories that could be discussed in public, the current regime responds to this demand by attempting to find place for such effort. The shari’a regulations are not annulled by the central government but are given opportunity to people to decide. The pro and anti-shari’a exponents have debated the issues by referring to Pancasila ideology. The pro-shari’a claims that the implementation of Islamic shari’a is part of proving that Pancasila is not a secular ideology but the anti-shari’a argues that any laws produced in Indonesia should apply to all and not for a certain religious group. After an intense debate in public, the pro-shari’a found the fact that their arguments derived from religious justifications cannot be acceptable for all Indonesians. The changes in form of debate and persuasion of pro-shari’a groups can be seen from their arguments that the shari’a regulations are actually not shari’a regulations but only regulations inspired by interpretation of shari’a living in society. The case discussed in this paper shows that the new Indonesia democracy is durable enough to accommodate demands in society but it also shows that the process to find rational and justified arguments for legal policies in Indonesia politics still vontinue and Pancasila is still accepted as a political platform although it has not become what Rawls mentioned as an ’overlapping consensus’ among Indonesians.

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