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Utopia Talk / Politics / Aceh role model for the world
| Tue May 01 07:44:41|
You may defeat the Islamict State, but you can never defeat the moral of Islam!
'A vigilante state': Aceh's citizens take sharia law into their own hands
People have started raiding, arresting and shaming anyone accused of violating the Indonesia region’s militant moral laws
Mon 23 Apr 2018
Everyone in the village saw it, either in the flesh or later when it was immortalised on YouTube. Local children even stuck their heads through the grates of a fence to watch, their attention trained on the spectacle in front of them: a young couple being doused in sewage.
Humiliated but compliant, the couple sat on the edge of a well in Kayee Lee, a village in the Indonesian province of Aceh, as the liquid ran off them in thick black streams.
By the time Roswati arrived at the scene, about 70 people had gathered to watch her son and his girlfriend being publicly shamed in the courtyard of the mosque, the village equivalent of the public square.
“They were standing there looking at them like thieves,” says Roswati of the local youths involved. “I asked them, ‘Why did you do this,’ and they said, ‘Wait till we burn your house down.’”
Roswati and her husband, both rice farmers, had been visiting friends in a nearby village, leaving their son, 24-year-old Maulizan, and his girlfriend Shirley, 19, at home alone.
In the sharia-ruled province of Aceh, that is a criminal offence.
Known as khalwat, or the “seclusion” or “indecency” law, in Aceh it is prohibited for two mature people, not married or blood-related, to be together alone in an isolated place. The offence is punishable by caning and a fine of up to 10m rupiah (£508).
But Maulizan and Shirley weren’t arrested and charged by Aceh’s sharia police. Instead, it was a posse of young men from the village that burst into the house, demanded to see their IDs and then forced them down the dusty village road to the mosque.
‘It’s like an infection’
In March there were four such cases in the provincial capital and surrounds alone, where ordinary Acehnese took it upon themselves to play judge and jury, raiding, arresting and shaming people who had allegedly violated Aceh’s militant moral laws.
A few unmarried couples, two university students suspected of being gay, and a transgender woman accused of soliciting for sex, were all rounded up – not by known vigilantes but ordinary residents, before they were eventually handed over to the sharia police. Five are still in custody pending trial at the religious courts.
Based on a special autonomy agreement, Aceh is the only province in Indonesia that can legally adopt sharia bylaws. Formalised in 2014, its criminal code outlaws alcohol, adultery, homosexuality, pre-marital sex and gambling, and regulates what women can wear.
Last year the province attracted international condemnation after two gay men were flogged, 83 times, for having sex. The effect of the punishment, the first in Aceh’s history, rippled through the province.
The public spectacle attracted thousands and included sermons by religious scholars on the dangers of homosexuality, reinforcing already deeply entrenched homophobia.
Kamal Fasya, an anthropologist from Aceh’s Malikussaleh University, said of the recent vigilantism: “It has happened again and again. Young people, especially uneducated young people such as in Kayee Lee, shaming them, hitting them in public.
“It’s like an infection,” he adds. “It’s contagious.”
In several cases this March it was young Acehnese men, some as young as 15, who carried out the attacks with the backing of their village chiefs. Not once were they themselves reprimanded or arrested.
In another case the attack was unplanned. On 12 March, a man delivering water to a beauty salon claimed he caught its transgender owner having sex with a man. He called in the mechanic next door and together they restrained the couple, confiscating the keys for their motorbikes so they couldn’t escape, and called the police.
‘If you see something don’t let it go’
In a surprise move last week Aceh’s governor, Irwandi Yusuf, signed a new regulation stipulating that canings will no longer be held in public. To minimise the impact on children, foreign investment and the possibility that such medieval scenes could again go viral, the punishments will now be meted out in prison.
“The prisoner is punished once,” Yusuf told reporters of the decision. “But if it’s recorded on video and that’s uploaded to YouTube, he is punished for life with those images.”
However, the public is already actively involved, and the idea that Acehnese should police their neighbours has firmly seeped in, often with official encouragement.
In 2016 Aceh’s mayor Illiza Sa’aduddin Djamal posted a picture of herself on her Instagram account wearing a red hijab and brandishing a pistol, with a message that warned LGBT people to get out of Aceh.
This year a “sharia hotline” was set up, one of three civic hotlines for citizens to report issues about rubbish, water, and moral transgressions. “Now they are encouraging people to call in,” says Mawah, an Acehnese transgender woman, “If you see something don’t let it go, they are told. The government is asking people in the community to monitor.”
Requests by the Guardian to interview those running the hotline and for any sharia-related data have been denied.
Andreas Harsono from Human Rights Watch is blunt in his assessment of the province. He says Aceh is “becoming a vigilante state”.
‘It’s only water’
At the official level there are complaints that sharia law is not carried out consistently, that politicians or other powerful figures are never targeted, that rich people can pay to get their charges dismissed.
After her son was doused in sewage in Kayee Lee, the village chief demanded Roswati pay the villagers a goat and 1m rupiah as compensation for the shame her son had bought upon the village. When she refused, she said the family was officially ostracised and was forced to move.
Muchtar has been village chief of Kayee Lee for 12 years and says he doesn’t have a problem with the young couple being punished. “Of course they have a right to enforce the law, they are local citizens,” he says of the village youths. “It was only water.”
“If my daughter did something like that and people beat her to death,” he adds, “I would agree with it.”
| Tue May 01 08:16:15|
"You may defeat the Islamict State, but you can never defeat the moral of Islam!"
Sure we could. It would just take a few bug bombs.
| Tue May 01 09:22:33|
"In several cases this March it was young Acehnese men, some as young as 15, who carried out the attacks with the backing of their village chiefs."
So basically, it's the Third World version of SJW students radicalized by their teachers.
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