Religion & Morality

Issue 41 - February-March 2013

By James Balowski

Jakarta – Ignoring outrage and mockery at home and overseas, a town in Indonesia’s northernmost province of Aceh is pressing ahead with a by-law banning female passengers from straddling motorcycles on the grounds that doing so reveals a woman’s “curves”.

Issue 40 - November-December 2012

By James Balowski

Jakarta – A suicide in Indonesia’s northernmost province of Aceh by a teenager who was publicly humiliated by the province’s abusive sharia police has again put the spotlight on laws that discriminate against women.

Issue 38 - February-April 2012

By James Balowski

Jakarta – A civil servant who posted “God does not exist” on his Facebook page has been arrested and charged under Indonesia’s draconian anti-blasphemy law. He faces a maximum sentence of five years in jail if found guilty.

By James Balowski

Jakarta – A group of music lovers organising a charity concert in Indonesia’s northernmost province of Aceh are the latest victims of the province’s discriminatory and abusive sharia laws. The 64 youths were released on December 23 after undergoing 10 days of “moral rehabilitation” in the provincial capital of Banda Aceh.

Issue 31 - April 2011

By James Balowski

Jakarta – The gruesome murder of three members of the Ahmadiyah religious sect by an Islamist mob has left Indonesia’s image of pluralism and religious tolerance in tatters. On February 6, a mob of 1500 people attacked 21 Ahmadiyah members in Cikeusik, a village in Banten province in Java, killing three and seriously wounding five others.

Issue 27 - October 2010

Perempuan Mahardhika

[The following is a slightly abridged version of a statement issued by the Perempuan Mahardhika (Free Women) National Network on September 28.]

The attacks by the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) against the two-week International Q! Film Festival which opened in Jakarta on September 24 is a violation of basic human rights and threatens democracy in Indonesia.

Issue 17 - November 2009

By Rebekah Ward

A century and a half has passed since Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species, yet this book is still surrounded with controversy. It would not be an overstatement to say that the ideas of Charles Darwin on evolution sparked a revolution in human thought. But like most revolutionary ideas, Darwinism was, and still is, contested.

Issue 10 - April 2009

By Linda Waldron

The chief minister of Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP), Ameer Haider Khan Hoti, on February 16 announced a new peace deal between Islamabad and the Taliban-endorsed Movement for Enforcement of Sharia, or Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM). In return for a cease-fire, the central government has agreed to implement sharia law in the Malakand region.

Issue 7 - December 2008

By Owen Richards

The visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Sydney in July for the Catholic World Youth Day festival has focused attention on the relevance of religion in the 21st century. One of the most bizarre spectacles of the 400,000-strong event was the grisly worship of the 83-year-old corpse of Italian Catholic Pier Giorgio Frassati, flown in for the festival.