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Sharia Canings Prove Tourist Draw in Supposed Moderate Indonesia


Tourists from Malaysia got an eyeful this week when the bus they rode to Lamteh Mosque in the Sharia-ruled Banda Aceh region of Indonesia stopped at a public caning.

The tourists were treated to a scene of a dozen different canings. The victims were deemed violators of Aceh’s strict sharia law impositions.

Public canings are a frequent site in Aceh, a sharia-governed region of Indonesia.

From, a local newspaper:

“On Monday, dozens of tourists from Malaysia came by bus to visit the Lamteh Mosque in Banda Aceh to witness a dozen people getting publicly caned for crimes ranging from gambling to ikhtilat (the intermingling of men and women who are not married).

“Among the tourists was a Malaysian State Senator from Klanten, Dato Dr Johari bin Mat, who said that he respected Aceh implementation of Islamic law and use of public canin to ensure security and public order.

“‘This is the first time I witnessed a caning in Aceh. So far, I’ve only viewed through a video that was taken by a friend when he visited Aceh some time ago,’ said Dato Dr Johari bin Mat on Monday as quoted by Kompas.

“He also noted that sharia caning in Aceh, similar to how it is implemented in Malaysia, is not meant to injure the guilty party but to make them repent for their mistakes and ask for God’s forgiveness.

“In Malaysia, sharia caning (as opposed to judicial caning, which is also used there) is done in an enclosed area, away from public views. This is in contrast to how it is implemented in Aceh, where hundreds of people gather to watch (and often take pictures and video) of the canings, which take place on a raised platform for all to see.”

Indonesia is considered by Islam sympathizers as a nation of Muslim moderates.

In Aceh, however, sharia is the law, and it’s applied to both Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Residents strongly support the region’s use of corporal punishment. However, Aceh has come under criticism from human rights groups all around the world, and within other spots in Indonesia, for its frequent use of public canings to punish those who violate sharia principles.

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