BANDA ACEH, Indonesia | A 20 year old woman, Nur Elita, a University Student, was severely beaten last Monday for being affectionately near a man she is not married with. Under the Sharia law it is a crime which carries serious punishment in this Indonesian province that applies this Islamic law. The man in question received the same verdict, along with six other men for other violations.
A thousand people attended the macabre spectacle, common in the province. While Nur Elita was brutally beaten and humiliated, the crowd cheered to show their appreciation. A witness says, “It was a horrible scene to see. The young woman was agonizing and screaming for the torturer to stop; no one intervene to her rescue. After the endless caning was finally over she was taken to hospital to receive medical care.
In addition to the beating, she is also subject to khalwat, a solitary retreat during which Elita will have to do extensive spiritual exercises under the direction of a Sufi master. The forced retreat can last as long as 40 days. She can emerge only to pray, or discuss dreams or visions with the master. This sentence can apply for a simple affectionate contact between two unmarried people, not to mention adultery.
Over a hundred people have been flogged in public in 2015 in the province of Aceh because they have not complied with various doctrinal standards of the Sharia. Last June at least 6 students were caned for “immoral acts”. This Islamic law covers all aspects of life: spiritual, social, cultural, and relational. A person caught drinking alcohol or gambling can be severely beaten, receiving up to Lashes. Some of the rules can carry death sentence.
However, some countries and province have rejected this law. Since 2001, Aceh is the only Indonesian province to apply the Sharia. Yet, sanctions by caning began in 2005 and have since increased. Women should sit sidesaddle on their motorcycle. Sitting on horseback is considered a lewd behavior.
In addition, individuals break the law if they have their head shaved. For this act, they would be bathed in public and forced to attend rehabilitation courses. Persistence in breaking the same rule can carry more serious sentences. In Aceh, Indonesia, the Sharia police attacks even non-Muslims since 2014.