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Judicial CP - September 2002
The Star, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 29 September 2002
Aceh plans caning for errant Muslims
JAKARTA: Legislators in the strife-torn Indonesian province of Aceh have proposed caning Muslims who violate Islamic law, including those who skip Friday prayers three times in a row, officials said yesterday.
Earlier this year, Aceh - which has been wracked by years of separatist war - became the first Indonesian province to introduce Islamic law or syariah as part of a government policy to give it more autonomy.
Nearly all the province's four million residents are Muslim but until now few of the law's edicts have been enforced.
The draft law calls for caning Muslims who propagate beliefs other than Islam, fail to attend Friday prayers three times in a row or sell food, cigarettes or drinks during daylight hours during Ramadan.
It would also apply to thieves.
Violators would face as many as 10 strokes of the cane as well as fines up to 6mil rupiah (RM2,500).
The province's newly formed Syariah police would carry out the caning.
"We're discussing a draft law that includes caning,'' said Wijaya Kusuma, a spokesman for the Aceh Legislative Council.
"But it won't be the same as the caning that you see in Malaysia and other Arab countries.
"We will be using a whip, not a rattan,'' he added.
Kusuma said non-Muslims would not be caned and that most Aceh residents supported the new proposal.
Under the new law, men and women must abide by Muslim dress codes.
This includes women covering their heads, arms and legs while in public.
Kusuma said the provincial legislature would vote on the draft law on Oct 15. - AP
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