Christian Politicians Against Sharia for Non-Muslims
by Benteng Reges
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AsiaNews (04/27/06) Christian politicians have hit out at a bill submitted by the Justice and Peace Party (PKS, with Muslim leanings) to apply Sharia (Islamic law) to all residents of Aceh province, regardless of their religious beliefs.
The bill is part of deliberations to draw up legislation to govern Aceh ( Ruu Pa ) following the signing of the Helsinki peace agreement in August 2005 between Jakarta and separatists of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM).
The Christian Peace and Prosperous Party (PDS) was quick to clarify that Islamic courts have no authority to judge cases of non Muslim citizens. The debate took place yesterday during a special parliament session attended by the State Secretary Yuzril Ihza Mahendra. Rufinus Sianutri, PDS spokesman, said: The PKS positions are too far from ours and we cannot accept that Sharia be applied across the board, including to non Muslim residents of Aceh.
Nationalist parties, like the Indonesian Democratic Party Struggle (PDIP) of the former president Megawati Sukarnoputri, have expressed full support for the PDS objections. The Democratic Party of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has also taken the same stand.