27-30 May I was again in Montreal at McGill University (where I was a visiting professor in 1992-3). The main goal was the conference on global Buddhist-Muslim relations as I have described in another blog.
In the margin of this conference I met twice my old friend Alyasa Abubakar who stayed in my house in Yogyakarta 1987-8 when my wife and the two boys had already returned to the Netherlands. We played table tennis daily, enjoyed the food prepared by Ndari, our cook and even climbed mount Merapi together. Alyasa was at that time still writing his doctoral dissertation on the principles of Islamic Law. We had some debates but also had decided to disagree on several subjects. In my opinion individual persons can choose themselves how to clean things, how to eat healthy food and how to behave properly and decent. There are in my view too many rules in Islamic law, that are not truly based in the message of Muhammad as found in the Qur'an and the hadith is an uncertain source and its basis is not so clearly found in the Holy Books itself. That is my opinion, although I may just abstain from an opinion, because officially or formally I am no Muslim. So, why should I have an opinion about this theme at all?
Alyasa became the head of the office that should introduce sharia rules secara kaffahwhich is 'in its full content'.
As far as I understood from Alyasa (who has now left this office and has returned to his academic work at the IAIN, the State Academy of Islamic Studies, Ar Raniri in Darussalam Banda Aceh), the introduction of sharia in Aceh is still not applied in its full content and will also never be used in all its aspects. Only rules against alcoholic drinking, gambling, prostitution, against living together without marriage are effectuated until now. Nothing in the field of economy, not against corruption. Rules about halal food and against mixed marriages were already introduced earlier.
For the journal KULTUR (published by PBB, Pusat Bahasa dan Budaya of the Jakarta UIN) I wrote an article on Colonial and Postcolonial Dutch Perception of Sharia. There is an immense difference between the two periods. In the colonial time, multiple legal systems were accepted (besides Western Law not only Islamic Law for Marriage, Divorce and Inheritance, but also Adat Law). In recent times sharia has a very bad image in the Netherlands. I found 243 parliamentary documents since 1983 (no reference to sharia before that time') and they were all negative.
Readers interested in the subject can send me an email and ask for the full text.