Two Indonesians have reason to be a tad confused this week after they were publicly whipped according to strict Sharia law. The problem is that they are Christian. However, pursuant to Islamic law in Aceh province, gamblers are to be flogged. They were found to be gambling on Sumatra island and whipped six times each by a robed and masked man.
Indonesia continues to impose medieval Islamic rules on Muslims and non-Muslims alike. It is not willing to allow citizens to choose or reject the values of their religion on things like gambling. Rather, they will flog Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
There is growing pressure by Islamic groups to further push country toward even harsher Islamic rules and courts. There is a move targeting homosexuals and cohabiting adults by these extreme elements. Indonesia and Turkey were once viewed as a tolerant nations — relatively rare secular systems among Muslim-majority nations. Islamic groups have changed that.
If is not enough to argue that Muslims are the majority and thus have a right to the laws of their choosing. This are not Indonesian rights but human rights. Muslims are a small minority in the United States, but their right to faith and association is strictly protected. Indonesia is slipping into Islamic orthodoxy — a move that will likely arrest and reverse its progress as a modern and free society.
By the way, as this photo reminds us, flogging (as well as pillories) was a common practice in this country into the 20th Century. While not based on religious edicts, it was a barbaric practice that was eventually found to be unconstitutional.