Indonesia: Islamic Law Survives and Thrives

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August19, 2006: East Timor is too instable to survive without a lot a lot of international aid, and a foreign security force to keep factions from fighting each other and disrupting the aid efforts. Australia is willing to run, and pay for, the security force, but the UN wants to bring in a UN run security force. The Australians fear the UN force will be inept and corrupt, a common condition with UN peacekeepers.

August 15, 2006: Years of violence, then a major earthquake and tidal waves in late 2004, have definitely created an atmosphere that supports an end, for the moment, to Aceh's separatist movement. But part of the deal allowed Aceh to impose Sharia (Islamic) law in the province, and use that has led to the establishment of many vigilante groups out there enforcing the law. These groups, sponsored by a local mosque, have gone beyond reminding women to wear a headscarves, and men to attend Friday prayers, to assaulting some of those who do not comply. So far, the local government has avoided interfering, but popular anger against the vigilantes is growing. These Islamic vigilantes are showing up elsewhere in Indonesia, but only in Aceh are they protected by law (the peace deal with the separatists.) Attempts to pass a law that would make Sharia legal nationwide have, so far, failed to pass.

August 12, 2006: Evidence keeps piling up that many of the most notorious Indonesian Islamic terrorists have moved their operations to the Philippines, where there presence has been noted, and attempts made to arrest the Indonesians. Islamic terrorists have been able to take refuge with various Islamic separatist groups in the Philippines.

 

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