Skirts replace jeans as Indonesia’s Aceh enforces sharia

May 27, 2010
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A sharia police officer escorts women caught wearing tight pants during a street raid in Aceh province on May 26, 2010/Junaidi Hanafiah

In a bid to implement Islamic law to the letter, Indonesia’s West Aceh district on Thursday started giving away long, loose skirts to cover up Acehnese women caught wearing tight jeans. The westernmost province of Aceh on Sumatra is the sole upholder of sharia law in the predominantly Muslim, but secular Indonesia. The previous local parliament passed a controversial law in September allowing adulterers to be stoned to death.

Wilayatul Hisbah, the Aceh sharia police who began this year conducting raids on unmarried couples caught together as well as gamblers and drinkers, on Thursday set up road blocks to search cars and buses for women wearing tight trousers.

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Sharia police give advice to women caught wearing tight pants in Aceh province on May 26, 2010/Junaidi Hanafiah

Offenders were taken away to a security post and their details recorded. They were briefed on sharia law and instructed to put on one of the 20,000 long skirts the local government ordered from tailors in Jakarta. Offenders were also asked to sign an agreement not to repeat the offence.

Imah, 40, a housewife, was enraged when the sharia police stopped her while she was riding a motorbike and asked her to change into a skirt. “Are jeans forbidden by religion?” she asked.

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This blog has done much to educate me about Islam. I have much more to learn.

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