In the crosshairs of conscience: John Kitzhaber's death penalty reckoning

To cope with his dread, John Kitzhaber opened his leather-bound journal and began to write.
It was a little past 9 on the morning of Nov. 22, 2011. Gary Haugen had dropped his appeals. A Marion County judge had signed the murderer's death warrant, leaving Kitzhaber, a former emergency room doctor, to decide Haugen's fate. The 49-year-old would soon die by lethal injection if the governor didn't intervene.
Kitzhaber was exhausted, having been unable to sleep the night before, but he needed to call the families of Haugen's victims.
"I know my decision will delay the closure they need and deserve," he wrote.
The son of University of Oregon English professors, Kitzhaber began writing each day in his journal in the early 1970s. The practice helped him organize his thoughts and, on that particular morning, gather his courage.
Kitzhaber first dialed the widow of David Polin, an inmate Haugen beat and stabbed to death in 2003 while already serving a life sentence fo…

91% of Indonesian Muslims say there would be benefits to the country implementing sharia law: survey

Implementing Sharia Law in Indonesia's Aceh province
There have been many signs that Indonesia has been experiencing rapidly increasing conservatism in recent years, such as the rising influence of Islamic hardliners on politics (like their successful campaign against former Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama and the size of the recent anti-Myanmar protests). But how conservative are the views of your average Indonesian?

According to the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute, a think tank studying socio-political, security and economic trends in Southeast Asia, the recently published results of a survey that shows a significant percentage of Indonesian Muslims holding views that could be considered strongly conservative.

Polling for the “Indonesia National Survey Project: Economy, Society and Politics” (INSP) took place from May 20-30 and was conducted across all 34 Indonesian provinces (soon after the end of the Jakarta gubernatorial election). Muslims constitute 86.2% of the sample size (in line with a 2011 consensus that put it at 87.2%).

Those who identified as Muslim were asked questions about the role of Islam in their everyday lives. “To the question of whether there will be any benefits to the implementation of shariah law, 90.9% agrees that there will be various benefits, while only 9.07% considers that ‘benefits would be very limited or null’.”

By comparison, a 2013 Pew Research Center survey showed that 72% of Indonesia’s Muslim population would favor an Islamic legal code as the “official law of the land” if given the option.

Medieval and barbaric: Implementing Sharia Law in Indonesia's Aceh provinceThe new INSP survey results indicate the most popular reason for implementing shariah law, chosen by 67.2% of respondents, is that “shariah law would help strengthen moral values in society. 

The report argues this in Indonesia shariah law is perceived “not so much as the imposition of a certain socio-legal system, but as a measure for safeguarding moral values in society.”

Another finding noted by the report is that 82.1% of Muslims respondents agreed that all Muslim women should wear the hijab. “While the proportions differ very slightly where gender and location are concerned, those with low education (83.8%) and high education (88.9%) are more likely to agree that women should wear the hijab, and the lower the income of respondents, the more likely it is that they would agree that women should wear the hijab.”

On a series of other issues concerning the intersection of religious life and the public sphere, many conservative issues got weaker support but a majority agreed that “Blasphemy against Islam should be punished more severely” and “When voting in elections. it is very important to choose a Muslim leader.

Data for the survey was gathered through face-to-face interviews with 1,620 adult Indonesian citizens using a multi-stage cluster sampling method to represent all provinces of Indonesia.

Source: Coconuts Jakarta, Sept. 8, 2017

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