In this Section
Five years after sharia was first implemented in Aceh, many residents, especially villagers, still do not fully understand it, an Islamic group says. Many residents are unsure about its implementation, while some groups have politicised it, resulting in a focus on punishments like public caning and the requirement for women to wear a headscarf. Gazali Mohammad Syam of the Aceh Ulema Conference Council while speaking in a recent meeting on five years of sharia in Aceh, organized by Mitra Sejati Perempuan Indonesia in Berastagi, North Sumatra, said there was a need to further familiarize locals with sharia and its regulations, especially in villages. The one-day meeting involved 20 participants from various groups in Aceh, including the sharia office, as well as officials, the police, ulema, academics, activists, lawmakers, the Aceh and Nias Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Agency and several women’s organizations. Academic Arraniry Hamid Sarong said the poor understanding of sharia had become a serious problem and was beyond explanation given that sharia was introduced to Aceh in 2003. Sharia was implemented in the province two years after the central government granted special autonomy to Aceh in order to curb the independence campaign conducted by the Free Aceh Movement.