Non-Muslims Must Study Koran to Marry in West Sumatra

In a heinous example of state oppression and compulsion in religion, there are growing numbers of towns in Indonesia that require Koran study for everyone, Moslem or not, and now it is to be provincial law in West Sumatra.

The Indonesian province of West Sumatra has adopted an ordinance to take effect in 2008 requiring all students from elementary through high schools as well as couples to be married to take a written and oral tests on the Koran, or Qur’ān, and this irrespective of their religion.

Guspardi Gaus, who chaired the special provincial commission that developed the ordinance, said a number of gubernatorial decrees would be necessary to implement the regulation, along with changes to school curricula, but the provincial bylaw should apply to every city and regency (district) within the next two years. […]

Guspardi shrugged off suggestions that the ordinance would have negative impacts on non-Muslims.

“Islam is merciful. The more religious one is, the more beneficial he or she will be to others, including followers of other faiths. So it’s not a threat, because Islam teaches people to do good amongst themselves. Qur’ānic education is aimed at giving people, especially the younger generation, good morals, so they won’t be lured by drugs and other negative activities.”(source)

The concern is that they might take up negative activities like Jihad. How is this to be avoided? Will West Sumatra excise the violent verses, such as the entirety of Chapter 9?

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4 responses to “Non-Muslims Must Study Koran to Marry in West Sumatra

  1. “Non-Muslims Must Study Koran to Marry in West Sumatra”

    There is nothing in the article to suggest this is the case.

  2. read it again.

    requiring all students from elementary through high schools as well as couples to be married to take a written and oral tests on the Koran

    Cheers!

  3. What is obviously meant is _Muslims_. To apply this type of law to non-Muslims would be unprecedented in Indonesia.

  4. Dear Patung,

    Unprecedented it may be, but if you read the source in Spero you will see that the headline is not exaggerating or mischaracterizing the law. In fact a majority-Christian area (Mentawai Islands) is specifically exempted from the law. However, according to the article, Christians in other areas are required to study the Koran and pass a test on it.

    I am heartened by your visceral reaction against this possibility. I too am repulsed by such a law. That’s why I passed it on.

    If you are able to look into other sources and fact check the article in Spero against sources that I didn’t find or that are not in English I would greatly appreciate it.

    Yours,
    Pangloss