Are Indonesian Youth Supporters Of Sharia Law?

A recent study conducted by the Setara Institute for Democracy in Indonesia revealed a confusing picture regarding the attitudes of young Indonesians regarding the meaning and purpose of sharia law. The results of the survey claimed about 56% of young people living in the Jakarta area support the imposition of sharia law, but the overwhelming majority also indicated support for their nation’s commitment to diversity. Unversity professor Musdah Mula believes the questionnare was flawed and this is the reason for confusing results of the survey. “If a person who comes from a Muslim-dominated community is asked whether he/she supports a sharia-based bylaws, I think the answer s likely yes.” She believes the young people were never provided specific information regarding what such a sharia-based society would be like in daily life. She argues if they were told it meant the death penalty for adultery or cutting off hands of theieves or forcing all women to wear a headscarf, the answers would have been a resounding, no.

Institute directors believe the survey’s main importance is pointing out the necessity of providing more effective education about the nature of democracy and the meaning of sharia law. They also noted only 50.4% of respondents felt pride in being an Indonesian.