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Democracy and Islam in Indonesia$
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Alfred Stepan and Mirjam Künkler

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231161916

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231161916.001.0001

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Contours of Sharia in Indonesia

Contours of Sharia in Indonesia

(p.149) 8 Contours of Sharia in Indonesia
Democracy and Islam in Indonesia

John R. Bowen

Columbia University Press

This chapter discusses what the growing use of sharia law means and does not mean for Indonesia, given that pro-Islamic legislation and regulations narrow some personal freedoms. The phenomenon of the sharia-based laws is a new sign of provincial or regional distinctiveness and authenticity. Sharia is above all a loose collection of signs, differentiated by province, region, and city. These signs are deeply situated in the history of the struggle for independence against the Dutch, ensuing struggles for autonomy against Jakarta, and debates about the relative role of religion in the country's law and politics. In the post-1998 era of reform and decentralization, sharia signifies the resurgence of local capacities to define and exploit ideas of authenticity, autonomy, and morality—ideas that have strong political, cultural, and often religious dimensions.

Keywords:   sharia law, pro-Islamic legislation, sharia-based laws, reform, decentralization, personal freedom, autonomy, morality

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