Sharia law came into its most rigid force in Banda Aceh, Jakarta only last year. Soft-launch of Sharia became active in 2001. The new updates to a more and more rigid Sharia is already creating a lot of problems for people – and of course, targeting the women first.
Banda Aceh is only one of Indonesia’s 34 provinces to impose strict Islamic law (called Qanun Jinayat in Indonesia) in the most populous Muslim-majority nation in the world, with a population of about 250 million people. A new regional Governor Zaini Abdullah including councilor Abdulah Saleh was involved in the deliberation of the qanun in the council.
Aceh province implemented Islamic law in 2001, but in September the religious “penal code” was extended to everyone, now applying to some 90,000 non-Muslims who live there. Sharia applied to non-Muslims alike should demonstrate that Muslims lie when they claim a Sharia state would not implement Sharia law onto non-Muslims.
Offences not previously regulated such as adultery, homosexual acts, and sex outside marriage are now punishable with sentences handed down by Islamic courts, including public flogging. Buying or carrying alcoholic beverages could result in 10 strokes of the cane, 10 months in prison, or a maximum fine of 100 grams in gold.
Key articles in the Qanun Jinayat
1. The sharia authorities will have the power to arrest suspected violators, and confiscate and conduct raids on their property, based on preliminary evidence.
2. The authorities will have the power to detain a violator for up to 30 days prior to trial. This detention can be extended by another 30 days.
3. A suspect has the right to be defended by a lawyer.
4. Non-Muslim or military suspects will be tried in a sharia court unless the violation is covered by the Criminal Code (KUHP) or by the Military Code respectively.
5. Even if the sharia court acquits a defendant, he or she will be required to undergo rehabilitation.
6. Only one appeal may be filed with the sharia court.
7. Prison terms are for up to a maximum of 40 months.
8. Caning up to a maximum to 40 lashes.
9. Fines up to a maximum of 800 grams of gold.
Source: Aceh provincial administration
This will only be the beginning. It starts as a soft-launch and gradually builds up to complete force.
Calls for lifting of female curfew in Indonesia’s Aceh
Many working women hope Jakarta will reverse night-time restrictions and give them back their freedom of movement.
13 Jun 2015 | Al Jazeera
The provincial government says the new rule, which mandates that females working or visiting nightspots must return home by 11pm, is meant to protect women from sexual harrassment and prevent them from being overworked.
But opponents of the regulation say the curfew not only takes away the basic freedom of movement but represses women who have to work night shifts to support their families.
Al Jazeera’s Step Vaessen, reporting from Banda Aceh, said only a few women have dared to protest openly against the curfew rule, mainly because it was issued in the name of religion in a province that has a strict interpretation of Islamic law.
Samsidar, a woman activist in Aceh, told Al Jazeera the law is “clearly discriminatory” against women and contradicts the country’s constitution.
Iliza Saaduddin Djamal, mayor of Banda Aceh, defends the new rule, saying: After 11 pm, places of entertainment are quite dangerous. There are many problems. … If women work later than 11pm, it is not effective. By that time women should be able to rest.”
However, Indonesian government ministers in Jakarta say they want to review the regulations in Aceh to see whether they breach the national constitution.
“Many women are affected by [the curfew law] because they work at night,” Yohana Yembise, minister of women empowerment, told Al Jazeera.
“We need to review this and I will discuss this with our home minister because this is not the only regulation in Aceh violating gender equality.”
In Banda Aceh these days, women are reprimanded for being outdoors after 9pm unaccompanied by their husbands or family members. Unmarried couples are arrested for kissing in the city’s parks.
Violators can be punished by caning in public, like three unmarried couples who were recently caught.
While not all women are obeying the mayor’s regulations, most cafes in the city are now filled with men only.
Many women are hoping that the government in Jakarta will reverse the rule and allow them to work and move around at night as they used to do.
One of seven convicts found guilty of breaking the Sharia Law in Aceh undergoes lashing as a form a punishment for indecency in front of the Al Badar Mosque in Banda Aceh on Friday. Offenses punishable by lashing in Aceh include interaction between men and women who are not related or khalwat. (JP/Hotli Simanjuntak)