Sunday, September 6, 2009

Concerns over ‘Steps Toward Islamic State’ in Indonesia

The nation is quietly being pushed closer toward an Islamic state, Christian politicians and religious groups warned on Sunday, pointing to attempts this month to push through a bill requiring halal product labeling. The legislation could be passed by the House of Representatives as soon as next week, despite opposition from the Christian-based Prosperous Peace Party (PDS) and minority religious groups who say it is discriminatory.

The House and central government are being accused of rushing discussion on the bill in the hope of endorsing it on Sept. 15. Critics claim the bill, like the Anti-Pornography Law passed almost a year ago, is a ploy by conservative Islamic groups to introduce elements of Shariah law within secular Indonesia. The House, they say, is being pressured to endorse the legislation before its term expires at the end of September.

The bill states that all packaged food, drinks, medicine and cosmetics produced and sold in Indonesia must be certified as halal or not by an independent body and then labeled accordingly. Extract from article by Febriamy Hutapea & Heru Andriyanto in The Jakarta Globe

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