Sharia By-Laws in Indonesia: A Legal and Political Analysis

Marcus Mietzner, Nicholas Parsons

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    �In recent scholarly debates on sharia by-laws in Indonesia, many observers have claimed that such local regulations are unconstitutional and/or unlawful, and have criticised the central government for not overturning them. According to these scholars and activists, the Indonesian government is aware of the legal problems surrounding sharia by-laws (or perda syari'ah), but does not want to take action due to political concerns. Despite the controversial nature of such claims, there have so far been surprisingly few in-depth scholarly discussions of the legal status of sharia by-laws. This article seeks to fill this gap in the academic literature by analysing the position of perda syari'ah in Indonesia's constitutional and legal framework. Our examination takes two main steps: first, we examine the mechanisms through which regional regulations may be challenged and ultimately invalidated; and, second, we apply these criteria for potential annulment to a selected number of perda syari'ah. Based on this analysis, we conclude that perda syari'ah are in a much stronger legal position than their opponents believe. Consequently, we suggest that legal obstacles are as relevant as political dynamics in explaining the remarkable resilience of sharia by-laws in contemporary Indonesia.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)190-217
    JournalAustralian Journal of Asian Law
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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