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Most Indonesians oppose strict Islamic system

Written by: Staff

JAKARTA, Aug 25: Most Indonesians do not favour adopting a strict Islamic system in which sharia laws would enforce the wearing of head-scarves for women or stoning for adultery, according to a survey.

But 80 per cent supported a crackdown on alcohol, gambling and prostitution, according to results of the survey conducted by the Indonesian Survey Circle, a prominent private pollster.

The survey, with a margin of error of 3.8 per cent, was conducted in July and August and covered 700 people across the world's most populous Muslim nation.

Almost 70 per cent in the poll backed the current secular system in which all religious faiths enjoy an equal status.

''The majority of Indonesians feel that Pancasila (Indonesia's secular ideology) is in harmony with religious and ethnic diversity,'' the pollster said.

Around 85 per cent of Indonesia's 220 million population are Muslims and most are moderate in their views. However the country has a radical fringe that is vocal and growing in visibility.

About 55 per cent of respondents opposed implementing Islamic law, with stronger opposition to some sharia laws.

The poll showed 77 per cent opposed to making women wear Muslim dress, while 77.3 per cent were against cutting off the hand of a thief.

Meanwhile, 63.3 per cent objected to stoning for adultery and 71.2 per cent opposed the death penalty for Muslims converting from Islam.

The only province in Indonesia with the right to adopt sharia laws in the judicial system is Aceh.

Aceh courts received the freedom as part of an autonomy package Jakarta offered in an attempt to quell separatist passions in the staunchly Muslim province.

Only 3 per cent of Indonesians supported a Western-style democracy, the survey showed.

The poll aimed to be representative of the breakdown in religions in Indonesia, which also has substantial Christian, Hindu and Buddhist minorities.


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