The new mayor of Tasikmalaya in West Java, Indonesia, has vowed to implement Shari’a in order to repay Muslim leaders who backed his successful election campaign.
Budi Setiawan announced in November that the town’s bylaws would be based on Islamic law in both custom and behavior.
However, His Honor’s plans were met with dissent. Earlier this year, a proposal to impose the veil for all women, including Christians, caused such controversy that then Mayor Syarif Hidayat promised that non-Muslims would not be forced to wear it, yet some Islamic customs would have to be respected by everyone.
National politicians condemned the plan, claiming that laws based on sharia were both “unconstitutional and discriminatory”.
Nonetheless, Shari’a is spreading in Indonesia; since 2003, at least half of Aceh’s 32 provinces have enacted their own variations of Islamic law, some even applying to Christians. To date, the national government has refused to intervene, claiming the laws fall under “public order,” but the increased Islamisation of Indonesia renders its Christian minority more vulnerable as Muslims lawfully become more intolerant of them.