Indonesia: Church protests as law on stoning for adultery approved

The Catholic Church in Indonesia is showing great concern after the approval of a new law in the Province of Aceh, in the northern part of the island of Sumatra, which calls for the authorization of stoning to death for women caught in adultery. The sharia law has been unanimously approved in the Regional Assembly and will take effect in one month.

The law also calls for the application of other aspects of the sharia, inflicting extremely severe punishments for other immoral behaviors, such as homosexuality, which can be punished by eight years in jail.  
The people of the Province of Aceh have fought a long separatist war against Indonesia, which ended in 2005. Since then, it has been given a great autonomy and has progressively adopted stricter application of the Islamic law.

The news of the new law has caused great concern in the Christian community on the island and in all Indonesia. NGOs, defenders of human rights, academics, and jurists have all openly condemned the law, calling it “contrary to every respect for human rights.”

“Stoning goes against the Indonesian Constitution; it is cruel, inhumane, and degrading to humanity,” several observers and members of Indonesian political parties said.

The gradual strict application of the Islamic law has made the province increasingly hostile to non-Muslim citizens. In the capital city of Banda Aceh there is one Catholic parish and about 1,500 Catholics in a population of 200,000 inhabitants.

Source: Fides

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