The Partai Bulan Bintang (PBB), or Crescent Star Party, is holding its national conference and the issue of sharia law is on the minds of the leadership of this Islamic party.
As supporters of the application of Islamic law in Indonesia the PBB view with approval the recent rash of provincial and city level laws which have an Islamic flavour to them, such as the requirement of holding certificates in Quran understanding for students in West Sumatra, and many others. To this end the PBB conferred a special award on the governor of West Sumatra province, Gamawan Fauz, and also on the Preparatory Committee for the Application of Islamic Laws in South Sulawesi, for their sterling achievements in the struggle for Islamic law.
Gamawan Fauzi receives his award, 16th July, Jakarta.
Gamalan, in his acceptance speech, said that the Islamic laws which his administration had introduced had been in existence for five years and had met with no societal opposition. As an example, he mentioned that the local government had issued a regulation requiring the wearing of Islamic dress for women, and, he said, city officials were not shy about enforcing the matter on the streets. Muslim women had to cover their hair.
The vice-chairman of the parliament, Zaenal Ma'arif, said that the national government's intention to review the laws in question was a throwback to the bad old days of General Suharto's New Order regime. In the era of regional autonomy he said the national authorities should let the regions develop their own ways of doing things.
Further, the chairman of the party, MS Kaban, who is the current Forestries Minister, delivered a speech entitled "The Beauty of Sharia" in which he extolled the virtues of 7th century Arab tribal law.
If sharia is applied the benefit is not just the unity of Indonesia but also for a fair and cultured humanity, and social justice for all of society.
(Kalau syariat Islam diterapkan, manfaatnya bukan hanya kesatuan dan persatuan Indonesia, tetapi kemanusiaan yang adil dan beradab, keadilan sosial bagi seluruh rakyat.)
He said those who feared sharia were under misapprehensions about it. The problems that the nation faced were based in religious and ethical issues and the application of sharia would go some way in solving them.
The PBB was founded in July 1998 and managed to win 2.6%, or almost 3 million votes, in the 2004 elections. This gave it its present 11 seats in the parliament and its position as a coalition partner in the government of president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.