Wahdi Septiawan/Antara Foto
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 can 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 troublesome to separate it from spiritual justification.
Nearly all of the invoice’s sponsors are Islamic events, such because the United Improvement 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 high Muslim clerical physique, backs this invoice, saying a big majority of Indonesians (87%) are Muslim).
Based mostly on different international locations’ 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 restrictions of Indonesian regulation enforcement businesses and jail capability.
Numerous 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 comparable 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 spiritual narative: to implement Islamic values.
Traditionally, alcohol prohibition and its punishment should not a uniform coverage in Islam and Muslim-majority international locations.
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 have been talked about within the Koran.
First, it was not prohibited, however avoiding it was inspired. Second, alcohol intoxication was prohibited. Third was whole prohibition of alcohol.
After his demise, 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 whole prohibition of consuming intoxicating substances, both alcohol or drug, irrespective 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 situations, 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 international locations.
Solely 5 – Afghanistan, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Sudan – prohibit alcohol.
Ten international locations – Brunei Darussalam, Comoro, Iran, Kuwait, Maldives, Mauritania, Pakistan, Palestine, Syria and Yemen – prohibit alcohol for Muslim residents solely.
Nearly all of Muslim-majority international locations 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 international locations don’t completely prohibit alcohol.
Failure of prohibition
Alcohol prohibition doesn’t assure decreased consumption and public safety, as supposed by the Indonesian legislators.
In Pakistan, the 1977 alcohol prohibition, which punishes violators with 80 lashes, did not cease Pakistanis from consuming alcohol.
This prohibition had unintended penalties. Consumption of toxic alcohol produced by the unlawful business 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 offer legitimacy to sure teams of individuals exterior regulation enforcement to forcefully shut and destroy liquor shops.
Alcohol prohibition was additionally a failure in a secular nation. The 1919 prohibition in america (US) resulted in a rise in smuggling and bootlegging.
This observe 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 instances have been dropped at court docket. Within the first 10 years of alcohol prohibition, 343,695 individuals have been tried and convicted within the US courts.
Alcohol prohibition additionally crippled the US economic 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 business in 1914. The US authorities misplaced about US$11 billion in tax income from alcohol throughout the prohibition period.
In Iran, whole prohibition of alcohol led to social issues due to the stigmatisation of alcohol drinkers. The stigma was worse than for individuals who use medication as a result of the Koran particularly talked about khamr (alcohol). Consequently, that they had issue in accessing therapy.
Indonesian regulation enforcement challenges
A prohibition on alcohol might be troublesome to implement in Indonesia.
From 2012-2014, the police recorded a complete backlog of 44,273 instances. The judiciary additionally recurrently has backlogs: 21,555 instances 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 sources out there to unravel extra critical and harmful crimes.
Indonesian prisons could possibly be much more crowded if alcohol was prohibited. At the moment, the jail inhabitants is 241,130 individuals, exceeding a complete capability of 135,705 individuals.
The 2009 narcotic regulation brought on this overcrowding. Earlier than this regulation, solely 3,183 individuals have been imprisoned for drug-related crimes. The quantity multiplied 39 occasions after the regulation took impact.
Given the similarities with the narcotic regulation, we are able to anticipate the same state of affairs with alcohol prohibition.
Worse, in contrast to 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 strategy might hinder efforts to cut back the hurt related to alcohol consumption and imprisonment.
I doubt the alcohol prohibition invoice can create public safety. This prohibition may also improve bribery to take care of the availability to fulfill demand for alcohol, as occurred in Pakistan and the US.
Choky R. Ramadhan menerima dana dari Lembaga Pengelola Dana Pendidikan (LPDP) untuk studi doktoral di College of Washington, College of Legislation.