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7 When Words FailSyariah Law in Indonesia: Revival, Reform or Transplantation?

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Chapter Summary

Most comparatist scholarship on legal transplantation has been conducted in a European setting and does not itself always transplant usefully into other geographic contexts. The notion of 'legal transplantation' is particularly complex in south-east Asia, because almost all formal institutions of the legal systems of most south-east Asian countries are, to a large extent, 'transplants'. Indonesia is not an Islamic state and its Constitution (Undang-Undang Dasar 1945) does not refer to religion except in vague terms and in formulae asserting freedom of religious expression. The application of syariah was determined not by reference to the scriptures of Islam, but by an inquiry into the ethnicity and folk beliefs of the person involved. Success at the local level in Indonesia encouraged proponents of legal Islamisation to revive efforts at the national level.

Keywords: Indonesia; Islamic revival; legal Islamisation; reform; south-east Asia; Syariah Law



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