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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

Iran Announces Abolition of Morality Police.

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Anti-Women Laws Remain in Place in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Iran’s Attorney General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri announced on Saturday that the morality police had been removed by the relevant authorities, according to the ISNA news agency on Sunday (December 4th). “The morality police have nothing to do with the judiciary, and it was abolished by those who created it,” he said on Saturday evening in the holy city of Qom.

The announcement, seen as a gesture towards protesters, came after authorities decided on Saturday to revise a 1983 law on compulsory veiling in Iran, imposed four years after the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Libération: Iran : les autorités demandent au Parlement et à la justice d’examiner la loi sur le port du voile

Les opposants au régime théocratique iranien sont sceptiques sur ce que donnera l’examen de cette loi mais c’est bien la première marque d’infléchissement du pouvoir face à la gronde populaire contre ses dirigeants.

The blood of hundreds of Iranians will have flowed to modify a law, but will it be in the direction that they would have hoped? Iranian justice and Parliament are asked to review the 1983 law on the compulsory wearing of the hijab in order to find a way out of the protest movement which followed the death of the young Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini , arrested by the morality police for having broken the dress code almost three months ago.

On Saturday, Iran’s Attorney General, Mohammad Jafar Montazeri, announced that ” parliament and the judiciary were working ” on the issue of compulsory veiling, without specifying what could be changed in the law, especially since the ultra-conservative president, Ebrahim Raïssi, imposed new dress restrictions this summer. But during a press conference on Saturday in Tehran, the head of state seems to have opened the door to possible changes: “ Our constitution has solid and immutable values ​​and principles […], but there are methods of implementation of the Constitution that can be changed ,” he said.

This is a very sensitive issue in Iran, on which two camps clash: that of the conservatives who are bracing themselves on the 1983 law making it compulsory to wear the hijab and that of the progressives who want to leave women the right to choose whether or not to wear it. The hair covering became compulsory in Iran four years after the 1979 Islamic Revolution . wearing the hijab ”. According to the text in force since 1983, Iranian and foreign women, regardless of their religion, must wear a veil and loose clothing in public. And since July 5, a law “ on the hijab and the chastity of the country“, put in place by President Raisi, imposes new restrictions on women. The obligatory scarf must cover, in addition to the hair, the neck and the shoulders.

Written by Andrew Coates

December 4, 2022 at 11:49 am

Ukraine: ‘Peace’ Campaigners Reach Rock Bottom.

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Stop the War: Degré Zéro.

Solidarity with Ukraine is the position not just of the majority of the population in the UK but also of most of the left.

The Convenor of the Stop the War Coalition, and a leader of the revolutionary socialist group, Counterfire, Lindsey German, has recognised this. Writing in a review of an American book on the war she says (War in Ukraine: Making Sense of a Senseless Conflict – book review),

“There is no question that the left is divided, with some supporting Nato policies and calling for more arms to Ukraine from Western governments. In most trade unions, there has been major debate on this, and the TUC congress in October passed a resolution calling for more defence spending, against the background of the war. Labour’s attack on the Stop the War Coalition, and the refusal of Labour MPs to engage on this issue, weakens the whole left. It also does no service to the people of Ukraine, who face either the prospect of a long war of attrition, or of one that escalates further. Peace talks would not, of course, solve many of the problems, but they would at least create the conditions to end the conflict.”

So, taking the stand of common decency and principle “weakens the whole left”. Backing Ukraine’s fight against an invasion “does no service to the people of Ukraine.

She continues,

“As importantly, it weakens our own campaigning here. The government repeatedly justifies attacks at home – on pay and living standards – by blaming them on ‘Putin’s war’. It hopes to strengthen its position by blaming ‘the enemy without’. Supporting the increases in arms spending and production, giving the government support where none would be forthcoming over domestic issues, disarms our side in fighting our own ruling class. And we should always remember that our main enemy is at home in the class war, as it is for Ukrainians and Russians alike. Our fight has to be against our own government, on every level, which includes building an anti-war movement internationally.”

The ‘main enemy it at home’, reeled out at the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine to justify putting the blame on NATO, has now become a vague call to “fight our own government” “on every level”. One level they underline is, one would conclude, is any support for Ukraine against Putin. The hyperbolic language suggests that in an atmosphere not of general national unity behind the war effort but of quiet determination to do the right thing by the Ukrainians anybody is about to drop protests, and above all strike action, against Rishi Sunak’s government. It implies that the ‘anti-war movement’ with international allies that include bizarre ‘anti-imperialists’ such as the US ‘People’s Forum’, and red-browners of many stripes, are allies. That people like Williamson who put the responsibility for the cost of living crisis on Nato, are on the right track.

In February Jim published a translation from a French group Arguments pour la lutte sociale, on the origins of this phrase, About war and Sacred Union.

It notes,

“The main enemy of every people is in its own country.” When Karl Liebknecht wrote this in May 1915, in a leaflet, he called for the international class struggle. He specifies that each people has its main enemy in its own country. He certainly does not say that the main enemy is only in our own country, much less in the only imperialist coalition of which this one is supposed to be a part of.”

The internationalist prerequisite is not the fight against NATO, it is: OUT POUTINE. And that is solidarity with the Russian people. To make the question of NATO a prerequisite is the opposite of internationalism, it is to put a prerequisite to the national struggle of the Ukrainians and the heroic slogans of the Russian demonstrators.

This December the same group back this call: L’invasion doit cesser et avec elle cette guerre ! The invasion must stop and with it this war!

TROUPES DE POUTINE HORS DE TOUTE L’UKRAINE ! Manifestation Paris samedi 10 décembre à 14 h 00

Premiers signataires:
A Manca – Assemblée européenne des citoyens – Association autogestion – Aplutsoc – ATTAC France Cedetim – Club Politique Bastille – Coopératives Longo Maï – Éditions Syllepse – Émancipation Lyon 69- Ensemble ! – Entre les lignes entre les mots – Fondation Copernic – Forum civique européen – FSU 03 Gauche démocratique et sociale – Gauche écosocialiste – L’Insurgé – Les Humanités – Mouvement national lycéen- Nouveau Parti anticapitaliste (NPA) – PEPS Pour une écologie populaire & sociale – Rejoignons- nous – Réseausyndical international de solidarité et de luttes – RESU France (Réseau européen de solidarité avec l’Ukraine) – Réseau Penser l’émancipation – Union des Ukrainiens de France Union syndicale Solidaires

This is the kind of activity Stop the War is promoting:


We are living in a more and more dangerous world. The war in Ukraine is a disaster for the people there and effectively pits two nuclear armed great powers against each other. It could escalate at any time and is already causing economic chaos. Meanwhile, the US is ramping up the pressure on China, with full support from the British government and other NATO allies.

All this is raising tensions around the world, and in the middle of the worst attacks on living standards since the 1930s they want us to pay for this new militarism. The Tories are considering increasing defence spending to 3% of GDP – way above the European average.

We have called this conference because we believe that it is always working people who are the first victims of war and that the record sums being spent on arms and the military should be redirected to public services, to the NHS, social care and our crumbling schools. We believe that the slogan ‘cut warfare not welfare’ should be taken up by the whole of the trade union movement.

The conference is open to all trade unionists. We urge you to register but also to spread the word in your branches and trades councils.

Meanwhile Williamson continues his own work for ‘peace’,

Written by Andrew Coates

December 2, 2022 at 12:17 pm