01 November 2016

Woman is caned in public for standing too close to boyfriend

A 20-year-old woman from the Indonesian province of Aceh was caned in public yesterday for the crime of “close proximity” to her boyfriend.

Marlina bin Abdul Rahman grimaced as she endured the beating in front of a crowd in the city of Banda Aceh for the offence of khalwat. Under Sharia, unmarried men and women are forbidden from being alone together.

Ninety per cent of Indonesia’s 250 million people are Muslims — the biggest Islamic population in the world — but compared with the more austere forms practised in the Middle East, Indonesian Islam has traditionally been tolerant. In the past 15 years, however, stricter practices have been established.

Aceh is seen as Indonesia’s most devout province, with religious police growing ever more active. Non-Muslims can also be convicted of Sharia offences such as consuming alcohol, and, for women, wearing tight clothes or failing to wear a headscarf. [The Times (£)] Read more