Members of the Indonesian parliament have simply proposed an alcohol prohibition invoice, setting off a public debate.

This invoice would criminalise the producers, distributors, sellers, consumers and shoppers of alcoholic drinks. Violators could be sentenced to fines and jail time.

The parliament’s coverage paper claims the invoice goals to guard particular person life and public order. However it’s tough to separate it from spiritual justification.

Nearly all of the invoice’s sponsors are Islamic events, such because the United Growth Get together (PPP) and the Affluent Justice Get together (PKS), with a complete of 69 seats (12.7%) within the parliament. They argue that alcohol needs to be prohibited as a result of Islam forbids it.

Representatives from the Indonesian Ulema Council (Majelis Ulama Indonesia – MUI), Indonesia’s prime Muslim clerical physique, backs this invoice, saying a big majority of Indonesians (87%) are Muslim).

Primarily based on different nations’ experiences, I argue the arguments for this invoice are weak.

The implementation of this invoice is not going to be sensible nor sensible, particularly contemplating the constraints of Indonesian regulation enforcement businesses and jail capability.

Varied views on alcohol prohibition in Islam

Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim inhabitants with round 209 million adherents, has repeatedly tried to ban alcohol.

Members of parliament proposed related payments in 2009 and 2014, however none has been handed.

Now, some Islamic events have proposed this invoice as soon as once more with a non secular narative: to implement Islamic values.

Traditionally, alcohol prohibition and its punishment should not a uniform coverage in Islam and Muslim-majority nations.

Alcohol prohibition and associated punishments are different, and have been among the many most debated matters since Prophet Muhammad’s day. Throughout this time, three gradual levels of khamr (alcohol from grapes) prohibition had been talked about within the Koran.

First, it was not prohibited, however avoiding it was inspired. Second, alcohol intoxication was prohibited. Third was complete prohibition of alcohol.

After his dying, some Islamic students (ulema) and leaders differed over regulating alcohol prohibition.

They’d disagreements over what was thought of khamr – whether or not it is just wine or different alcoholic drinks and medicines – the intoxicated situation, and the usual of proof to punish alcohol drinkers.

Ahmad Bin Hanbal, Muslim jurist and founding father of the Hanbali jurisprudence, agreed on complete prohibition of consuming intoxicating substances, both alcohol or drug, regardless of how a lot is consumed.

Within the twentieth century, there was a debate on alcohol prohibition in Islam.

Twentieth-century Muslim students refused the earlier Muslim students’ settlement (ijma) that alcohol needs to be completely prohibited and topic to uniform state-imposed punishment (Hudud).

They stated Hudud can solely be imposed if the Koran particularly talked about the punishment, and Prophet Muhammad didn’t strictly deal with alcohol consuming as a Hudud offence.

One scholar who agreed with this view is Islamic regulation professor Mohammad Hashim Kamali at Islamic Worldwide College in Malaysia – Indonesia’s neighbour with a 60% Muslim majority.

Kamali argued that consuming alcohol is a taʿzīr offence, so prohibition and punishment rely closely on particular person circumstances, social circumstances, and authorities or judicial discretion.

This number of scholarly arguments and rules created a state of non-uniformity in prohibiting alcohol among the many 50 Muslim-majority nations.

Solely 5 – Afghanistan, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Sudan – prohibit alcohol.

Ten nations – Brunei Darussalam, Comoro, Iran, Kuwait, Maldives, Mauritania, Pakistan, Palestine, Syria and Yemen – prohibit alcohol for Muslim residents solely.

Nearly all of Muslim-majority nations don’t prohibit and solely prohibit or regulate alcohol manufacturing, distribution and consumption.

Financial causes and the presence of non-Muslim residents and immigrants are the explanations a few of these nations don’t completely prohibit alcohol.

Failure of prohibition

Alcohol prohibition doesn’t assure diminished consumption and public safety, as supposed by the Indonesian legislators.

In Pakistan, the 1977 alcohol prohibition, which punishes violators with 80 lashes, didn’t cease Pakistanis from consuming alcohol.

This prohibition had unintended penalties. Consumption of toxic alcohol produced by the unlawful trade and drug consumption each elevated. Prohibition additionally led to elevated bribery of the Pakistani police.

There have been additionally will increase in violence and excessive acts of terror. The alcohol prohibition appeared to present legitimacy to sure teams of individuals outdoors regulation enforcement to forcefully shut and destroy liquor shops.

Alcohol prohibition was additionally a failure in a secular nation. The 1919 prohibition in the USA (US) resulted in a rise in smuggling and bootlegging.

This apply fuelled the rise of the mafia, which profited by defending these unlawful companies. This in flip resulted in violence and regulation enforcement corruption.

The US felony justice system additionally turned congested as many circumstances had been delivered to courtroom. Within the first 10 years of alcohol prohibition, 343,695 folks had been tried and convicted within the US courts.

Alcohol prohibition additionally crippled the US financial system. Many alcohol industries collapsed, so US tax income considerably decreased.

Earlier than alcohol prohibition, the US authorities collected US$226 million in tax from the alcohol trade in 1914. The US authorities misplaced about US$11 billion in tax income from alcohol through the prohibition period.

In Iran, complete prohibition of alcohol led to social issues due to the stigmatisation of alcohol drinkers. The stigma was worse than for individuals who use medicine as a result of the Koran particularly talked about khamr (alcohol). Consequently, that they had problem in accessing therapy.

Indonesian regulation enforcement challenges

A prohibition on alcohol will likely be tough to implement in Indonesia.

From 2012-2014, the police recorded a complete backlog of 44,273 circumstances. The judiciary additionally often has backlogs: 21,555 circumstances in 2016 and 27,212 in 2017.

Implementing alcohol prohibition will improve the felony case load of regulation enforcement businesses, as occurred within the US. It is not going to solely burden these businesses, however might additionally cut back the assets out there to resolve extra severe and harmful crimes.

Indonesian prisons may very well be much more crowded if alcohol was prohibited. At the moment, the jail inhabitants is 241,130 folks, exceeding a complete capability of 135,705 folks.

The 2009 narcotic regulation brought about this overcrowding. Earlier than this regulation, solely 3,183 folks had been imprisoned for drug-related crimes. The quantity multiplied 39 occasions after the regulation took impact.

Given the similarities with the narcotic regulation, we will anticipate the same scenario with alcohol prohibition.

Worse, not like the narcotic regulation, the alcohol prohibition invoice doesn’t supply another therapy to the individuals who eat or are hooked on alcohol. Fines and jail are the one choices proposed.

This punitive method might hinder efforts to scale back the hurt related to alcohol consumption and imprisonment.

I doubt the alcohol prohibition invoice can create public safety. This prohibition may additionally improve bribery to take care of the provision to fulfill demand for alcohol, as occurred in Pakistan and the US.

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