Monday, March 9, 2009

Public Caning in Aceh and Sharia Tourism

An Acehnese woman kneels to be caned by Sharia law authorities Jan.12, 2007 in Banda Aceh, Indonesia.

Tourism authorities in Indonesia's Aceh province hope that this practice of Sharia or Islamic law will attract visitors. "We invite international tourists to visit Aceh to observe how an Islamic community lives and how the Islamic code of Sharia is applied," said Cipta Hunai, an Aceh tourism official, in an interview with Adnkronos International (AKI).

He said that Sharia law in Aceh was a tourist attraction because it allowed foreigners to see a reality, that perhaps, they did not already know. "Here the tourists can visit many mosques and see how a community lives under laws based on the Koran," he said. "

Muslim-devout Aceh is the only province in Indonesia allowed to apply Sharia law. However observers say that the application of Sharia in the province has harmed the rights of the poor and women.The Indonesian government agreed to allow Shariah law in Aceh four years ago as part of negotiations to end the 29-year war between separatist rebels and the military.

Canning is carried out in Aceh for crimes including the sale or consumption of alcohol, gambling or meeting a person of the opposite sex, that is not your husband, wife or family member, in a private place.

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