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In Bulukumba's Padang village, divine mandate goes beyond the four bylaws. Over the past year, village chief Andi Rukman Abdul Jabbar, whose office door bears a sign barring women without headscarves from entering, has taken it upon himself to implement caning as punishment for adultery, gambling and drinking. (Similar penalties exist in the Sumatran province of Aceh, population 4 million, where legislators are now considering hand amputation in cases of theft.) So far, three people have been caned in Padang, while another was kicked out of the village for stealing. "In 2005, we used to have an incidence of theft almost every day, but not anymore," says Abdul Jabbar. Now, village elders are considering barring wedding singers from wearing skimpy clothing and dancing suggestivelya common occurrence at Indonesia's marriage ceremonies. "People can dance with their fingers instead," suggests village cleric Leleng, wiggling his index fingers in demonstration. His wife Wayuni says only 5% of girls wore headscarves in high school when she was growing up. Now it's mandatory, and many women wear the covering even in the privacy of their own homes. "Some people say we should just follow our Indonesian traditions, where women wore revealing clothing," says KPPSI's Hasan. "But many of our traditions are not on the true path of Islam. We must correct that." As for southern Sulawesi's non-Muslim minority, who are required to wear headscarves if they want to enter civil service, Hasan says, "It's just like any uniform, where you wear a shirt of a specific color. There's no problem."
The spread of Shari'a laws has come not by diktat from Jakarta but from the grassroots. A series of reforms implemented since 2001 has made Indonesia's regions more autonomous, giving local leaders unprecedented power in what, under Suharto, had been a deeply centralized nation. The bottom-up emergence of the faith-based laws lends legitimacy to those who say they represent a Muslim majority that was never well served by the capital's secularizedand often corruptpolitical Úlite. "People in Jakarta may not understand this, but Shari'a is the aspiration of the people, because it makes everyone, even government leaders, accountable," says Muchsin Noor, a cleric who runs a pesantren in West Java's Cianjur regency, where Shari'a bylaws were officially implemented last year. But it is precisely the scattered nature of the bylaws' propagation that has made a concerted defense by moderate Muslims so difficult. "Because this conservatism is creeping in at the local level, people didn't anticipate how far these Shari'a bylaws would get," says Ery Seda, a sociology lecturer at the University of Indonesia. "Now, suddenly a neighboring town or even your own suburb of Jakarta has these bylaws, and you don't know how it happened. But speaking out could get you labeled as a bad Muslim who doesn't believe in Shari'a."
Local leaders who have implemented the bylawsa process that does not require public participationare hardly restricted to members of Indonesia's Islamic political parties. Although these parties only captured 20% of the vote in the 2004 general election, Indonesia's secularized, nationalist parties are careful not to alienate what is believed to be an increasingly influential Islamic vote. The regent of Cianjur comes from a nationalist party, as does the mayor of Tangerang, a Jakarta suburb where women out alone after sunset have been arrested as prostitutes even though they were just commuting home from work. So, too, the mayor of Padang city in western Sumatra, who credited mandatory head-to-ankle attire for female students with a reduction in mosquito-borne dengue fever. "If you have people from non-Islamic parties pushing for Shari'a, then it doesn't matter how popular the Islamic parties are," says Hamid Basyaib, program director of the moderate Muslim Freedom Institute in Jakarta. "The radicals have already won."
Those who have the most to lose are the millions of Indonesians who are either non-Muslim or belong to heterodox Islamic sects. In 2005, the nation's ruling clerics prohibited interfaith marriage and prayer. The Indonesia Ulema Council also renewed an edict deeming heretical the Islamic sect Ahmadiyah, which claims up to 500,000 members. In the past year, several Ahmadiyah mosques have been forcibly closed or destroyed by mobs, as have dozens of Christian house churches. Separately, a Muslim cleric in East Java was jailed for preaching in Indonesian, as opposed to the normal Arabic. In West Java, three women are serving three-year prison terms for running Christian kindergarten classes also attended by Muslim children. "Sometimes we have to defend the community's morality by force," says Sobri Lubis, spokesman for the Islamic Defenders Front (claimed membership: 5 million), which has carried out thuggish antivice raids on Jakarta nightclubs and whose spiritual leader Habib Rizieq said last November that assassinating U.S. President George W. Bush was religiously permissible. "If a soldier kills his enemy," says Lubis, "would you call that violence?"