Tendance Coatesy

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Indonesia: Islamist inspired laws to make it illegal to persuade someone to be a non-believer and ban sex outside marriage.

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Indonesia will make it illegal to persuade someone to be a non-believer. (Protesting Against the Laws outside the Indonesian Parliament. Le Monde)

As the Islamic State of Iran is challenged to its foundations Islamists in Indonesia have succeeded in imposing religious inspired laws.

Indonesia’s parliament has approved a new criminal code that bans anyone in the country having sex outside marriage and restricts political freedoms. BBC.

The new laws won’t come into effect for another three years, and it’s expected there will be court challenges.

The raft of changes come after a rise in religious conservatism (Note liberal speak for extreme rightwing Islamism) in the Muslim-majority country.

Several groups of mainly young people protested against the laws outside parliament in Jakarta this week.

Under the new laws – which will also apply to foreigners visiting Bali and other Indonesian holiday destinations – unmarried couples can be jailed for up to a year for having sex.

They are also banned from living together – an act for which people could be jailed for up to six months. Adultery will also be an offence for which people can be jailed.

Rights groups say the new provisions disproportionately affect women, LGBT people and ethnic minorities among the population of 267 million people.

It contains scores of new clauses criminalising immorality and blasphemy and restricting political and religious expression. Critics say the changes are a “disaster” for human rights.

Human Rights Watch’s Asia Director Elaine Pearson told the BBC it was a “huge setback for a country that has tried to portray itself as a modern Muslim democracy”.

The group’s Jakarta-based researcher, Andreas Harsano, said there were millions of couples in Indonesia without marriage certificates “especially among Indigenous peoples or Muslims in rural areas” who had married in specific religious ceremonies.

“These people will be theoretically breaking the law as living together could be punished up to six months in prison,” he told the BBC.

He added that research from Gulf states, where there are similar laws governing sex and relationships, showed women were punished and targeted by such morality laws more than men.

There are now also six blasphemy laws in the code, including apostasy – renouncing a religion. For the first time since its independence, Indonesia will make it illegal to persuade someone to be a non-believer.

New defamation articles also make it illegal for people to insult the president or criticise state ideology.

The BBC adds,

Indonesia is not a secular state. Atheism is unacceptable – technically you need to follow one of six prescribed religions. So it is a multi-religious state with an official ideology, Pancasila, which prioritises no faith over any other. That was Indonesia’s post-independence leader Sukarno’s idea, to discourage large parts of the archipelago where Muslims are not a majority from breaking away.

But since the fall of his successor Suharto – who ruthlessly suppressed political Islamic groups – there has been growing mobilisation around Islamic values, the sense that Islam is threatened by outside influences and more conservatism in many areas of the island of Java, where more than half of Indonesians live. Political parties have responded to this and demanded tougher laws to police morals.


When the influence of Islamism in Indonesian politics makes its mark violence is never far behind. During the Indonesian Anti-Communist Genocide of 1965 -6, launched by the military,  groups of devout Muslims joined the purge of Communists, claiming it was their duty to cleanse Indonesia of atheism. Indonesia’s ethnic minority of Chinese origin was one of the main targets as were Christians. Up to a million people were massacred but such is the degree of racism, the enduring violence of the military, and the influence of anti-Communism in Indonesia, that a full investigation and reckoning has yet to take place.

Communists, red sympathisers and their families are being massacred by the thousands. Backlands army units are reported to have executed thousands of communists after interrogation in remote jails. Armed with wide-bladed knives called parangs, Moslem bands crept at night into the homes of communists, killing entire families and burying their bodies in shallow graves … The murder campaign became so brazen in parts of rural East Java, that Moslem bands placed the heads of victims on poles and paraded them through villages. The killings have been on such a scale that the disposal of the corpses has created a serious sanitation problem in East Java and Northern Sumatra where the humid air bears the reek of decaying flesh. Travellers from those areas tell of small rivers and streams that have been literally clogged with bodies.

Time, 17 December 1965.

Written by Andrew Coates

December 6, 2022 at 12:26 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Will do wonders for their tourism industry I am sure.


    December 7, 2022 at 7:40 pm

    • Andrew Coates

      December 7, 2022 at 10:40 pm

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