A sharia policeman stops a motorcyclist for wearing tight jeans during a sharia police raid in Banda Aceh on March 24, 2014. Neighboring North Aceh district has passed a bylaw segregating men and women in all public spaces. (EPA Photo/Hotli Simanjuntak)

North Aceh to Segregate Men and Women, Force Kids to Study Koran


MAY 14, 2015

North Aceh. Authorities in Indonesia’s North Aceh district are set to impose a new bylaw segregating men and women in all public places, as part of the enforcement of shariah practiced in Aceh province.

Fauzan Hamzah, a district councilor, said the Islamic criminal code, or qanun jinayat, regulating the matter was passed last month and the district administration would begin disseminating information about it to the public before enforcing the bylaw.

“After a six-month introduction, we want the regulation to immediately go into force in North Aceh,” Fauzan said on Thursday.

The newly passed bylaw will separate boys and girls in classrooms, from elementary school all the way to university. It will also prohibited unmarried men and women from riding on the same motorcycle or bicycle, unless in an emergency situation.

Operators of tourism sites and facilities will also be required to provide separate sections for the genders, while entertainment activities such as music shows or karaoke performances at weddings or school events will be prohibited.

Elementary and junior high school students will not be permitted to leave their family home after dark and must participate in Koran recital lessons.

Vendors will not be allowed to sell clothing that does not comply with shariah guidelines on “modesty,” and no business may be conducted during prayertime, which takes place five times a day. Mannequins and statues in animal shapes will be banned from the district’s stores.

Violators of the new bylaw will face a range of consequences, from having to submit a written apology, to facing exile from their village.

Muhammad Thaib, the North Aceh district head, said the bylaw was expected to be fully enforced within the next two to five years.

“To impose this law, we have mobilized public order officers in each subdistrict,” he said, adding that the bylaw was issued “for the sake of the people of North Aceh.”