National Geographic : 2009 Oct
• public life, they are uneasy about the imposition of such corporal punishments. Outside of Aceh, adoption of religious-based regulations has been piecemeal, with some districts prohibiting gam- bling or drinking, or requiring women to wear veils. Yet these rules have o en been enacted by secular politicians who see Islamic regula- tions as a way to curry favor with their pious constituents or distract attention from ongoing corruption. In the future, experts say, playing the "Islam card" may not have the populist force it did just three or four years ago. Except, perhaps, in Aceh, which appears to be ratcheting up its Islamization and has even considered implementing the surgical severing of hands in accordance with the Koran s punish- ment for the . at would be ne with Faradila. Sharia law, she insisted, has made Banda Aceh more reverent and much safer. She d like to see an expansion of the laws. "Cutting hands," she said, "in the correct circumstances, would serve as a lesson to others. Crime would be greatly reduced." Stoning for adulterers would also be ne. "When you embrace Islam," she said, "you have to embrace all the laws." FUNDAMENTALIST ISLAM is a fairly recent import to Indonesia, where a relaxed if no less fervent form of the religion has long held sway. "Smil- ing Islam," it s o en called. Islam originally came here the way most things come to islands---by sea. e islands volcanic soil is ideal for grow- ing spices, and by the 12th century most of the traders taking Indonesian pepper and nutmeg and cloves to the West were Muslims from the Middle East. For Indonesian producers, con- verting to Islam had advantages---trading part- ners preferred fellow believers. The spread of Islam into Indonesia was gradual and peaceful. What took one frenzied, A model vamps at a photo shoot for ME Asia, a magazine challenging Indonesia's moral conservatism. The 2006 arrival of a local, nudity-free edition of Playboy reignited national debate over censorship and decency. Playboy folded, and a new antipornography law passed, but some publishers are testing its bounds.