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Indonesia province bans men and women from eating together to make women more 'well-behaved'

An Indonesian district has banned women and men from eating together unless they are related or married.

An official from the profoundly Islamic Aceh province on the northwest tip of Sumatra island – one of the country’s most conservative regions – said the prohibition was implemented to make women more “well-behaved”.

The regulation dictates women in the Bireuën district will not be allowed to share a table with men at restaurants and coffee shops unless they are accompanied by their spouse or a close male relative.
The head of Bireuën district’s Islamic Affairs office sent out a circular asking coffee shops, cafes and restaurants to enforce this.
The directive is intended to serve as a guideline for business owners to adhere to sharia law, which forbids khalwat (physical displays of affection between unmarried couples).

Co-workers on their lunch break will also be banned from dining together.

“Unmarried males and females who are not close relatives should not eat and drink at the same table, because it is sinful according to shariah law,” Jufliwan, the head of Bireuën district’s Islamic Affairs office, told AFP.
“The objective is to protect women’s dignity so they will feel more comfortable, more at ease, more well behaved and will not do anything that violates sharia law”.

The circular has 13 points, which comprises a restriction for food sellers to serve women after 9 pm unless they are accompanied by a spouse or a relative who is a man.

Authorities have said it will be up to those who manage restaurants to impose the regulation but offenders will not be punished.

Aceh is the only region in Indonesia which imposes Islamic law and has previously come under fire for placing moral restrictions on women. It has been criticised for whipping people who have been found guilty of crimes under sharia law, such as homosexuality, drinking, and gambling.

More than a dozen people were publicly flogged in July for carrying out adultery or being drunk alongside other violations of sharia law. The caning occurred outside a mosque as hundreds observed. 
Two men accused of being gay were whipped 87 times – this was the severest of all the punishments.

Earlier in the week, Malaysia caned two women for breaking its strict religious laws when trying to have consensual sex with each other.

The unnamed women, who were aged 22 and 32, are thought to have been caned six times at a courtroom in the Terengganu state in front of family members and government officials.

Prison officers had been due to carry out the punishment at the region’s sharia high court last week, but were delayed until Monday because of “technical reasons”.

The pair, who were arrested in April after being discovered in a car by Islamic enforcement officers, admitted a charge of “sexual relations between women” and were also fined 3,300 ringgit (£633).
Homosexuality is illegal across Malaysia and punishable by canings or a prison sentence of up to 20 years.


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Posted on : Sep 10, 2018