Thursday, July 29, 2010

The World's Biggest Muslim Nation - Muslim and Increasingly Moderate

It's part of the Western narrative that Muslim states in this era breed extremism, evidenced by a spreading clamour for harsh and oppressive Sharia law.   Well, the world's largest Muslim state, Indonesia puts the lie to that nonsense.   According to The Jakarta Post, Indonesian Muslims are turning against the spread of Sharia law:

"...In the last 12 months alone, there has been a palpable hardening in the attitude of Indonesians against sharia law. Form April 2009 to March 2010, the number of people who said “Islamic sharia law should be introduced in my area” declined from 43 to 36 percent of the population. That’s one in three people, not what an elected mayor could call a majority.

Expressions of support for sharia law have even less support. A year ago, 38 percent of the population believed “thieves should have their hands cut off”. By March of 2010, that number had slipped to 32.

“Those committing adultery should be whipped to death in public” also lost steam, with an almost identical decline during the same period.

...In this world’s Muslim majority nation, steadily growing numbers of moderate Muslims are looking at tomorrow’s Indonesia, differently. The purists and the fundamentalists are in the minority, and shrinking.

The politicians are reading the signs and even religious parties are seeking to redefine themselves."

Maybe if the West stopped propping up oppressive, anti-democratic despots in the Middle East and, instead, supported democratic reform, moderate Arab Muslims, the core of the Arab Street might themselves begin looking at tomorrow differently too.   If you want to drive out Islamist extremism, there's probably no better place to start than pushing for democratic reform.

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