Shariah Police Intensify Raids Prior to Ramadan

Aceh bylaws mandate a strict dress code whereby those caught three times in improper clothing such as tight jeans will receive at least six lashes. (EPA Photo/Hotli Simanjuntak)

Banda Aceh. The morality police in Aceh are on the prowl once again as the Islamic holy month of Ramadan approaches, increasing the frequency of their raids against… crimes of fashion.

The province’s shariah police, known as Wilayatul Hisbah, has roped in the police and the military to help in the raids, to be held “day and night to minimize shariah violations” — but which are targeted almost entirely at women wearing clothes deemed too figure-hugging.

“The raids were against motorcyclists, in order to uphold Islamic shariah,” Samsudin, the WH’s head of enforcement, told the Jakarta Globe on Thursday.

He added that the first series of raids on Wednesday netted 99 people — 94 of them women “wearing tight outfits,” and five men wearing “pants that expose the knees.”

Both are considered beyond fashion faux pas, actually meriting a place in local statutes and punishable by imprisonment.

Samsudin said none of those stopped on Wednesday were arrested. Instead, their names were taken down, and they were warned that if they were caught again they could face up to 20 days in jail.

The WH officer said raids would be held regularly from midnight to dawn throughout Banda Aceh, in places “suspected to be facilitating immoral deeds — like cafes.”

“We usually raid cafes where we find men and women who are not muhrim” — related by blood or marriage — “alone together,” he said. “We give them advice and if they fight back, we will take them to the office for further processing.”

Samsudin said that as the raids intensified, his office had found fewer and fewer shariah violators. He said he hoped to have Banda Aceh free of such violators for the entirety of Ramadan, which runs for a month from June 28, so that Muslims could observe the holy month in peace.

During Ramadan itself, when Muslims abstain from food, drink and sex during the daylight hours, the WH will carry out raids against those selling food during the day, Samsudin said.

“We will charge them and they can be punished by caning,” he said.

  • way-ang

    I love these stories… It reminds me how primitive, hypocritical, and stupid we really are here in Indonesia. Rather than developing tolerance towards the different beliefs, values and ideology we actually have in Indonesia; we have become ever increasingly tolerant of stupidity, inhumanity, corruption and hypocrisy.

    How many women in Indonesia will stand up and protest the draconian act of caning an Indonesian girls who would dare to wear jeans on a motorcycle, or have a coffee with a friend in a cafe? Our tolerance for such human rights abuses in our own backyard is astonishing.

    Rather than re-educating the so-called offenders, perhaps we can pass legislation to re-educate and rehabilitate the Wilayatul Hisbah!

    • minni

      Islam is snatching away the identity and rich culture of Indonesia and Indonasians are accepting it.. so sad. In next 20 years Indonesia will have no culture.., only beheadings, lashes, no rights for women.. amputations.. no singing… no dancing… no stage… no celebrations….

      • RationalFearOfTerror

        Change the Architect and Builder or Change Nothing.

        Any Freedom (etc in this case Freedom of Religion) which crushes Liberty is not a ‘good’.

  • Good, Bad and Ugly

    Stop telling other people how to think and act – it is none of your business. Stop being a slave to stupidity.

  • Ben Bear

    The whole idea is to resist temptation. By taking it away it basically means they are not fasting anymore, but it’s enforced – which is not voluntary anymore. Fasting in any religion means you as an individual need to prove you can resist temptation.

  • devine

    How comes the police and military help the Sharia Police? It is certainly NOT against the law of Indonesia to wear tight pants…

    • hunri

      $lice of the action

  • sumdood

    Religions can certainly control people for all the wrong reasons.The act of controlling may be a sign of insecurity.

    • The Doc

      Not all religions.
      Only Islam has to be protected by law to ensure its survival.

  • Martheen Cahya Paulo

    With such intensive care from fashion police, you would think the sharia lovers are already on mass transmigration to Aceh instead of whining about how they’re “repressed” because someone build a worship house nearby

  • Murtadin

    What a mess up religion.