Debate continues on the bill, but it is expected to pass by Friday, the last day of the current legislative session, according to The Daily Reporter. The majority of legislators in the Aceh province of Indonesia support the measure, which would criminalize gay sex. According to gay rights activist King Oey, the best hopes to stop the measure are at the national level.
“There is no room to talk about this democratically in Aceh because once someone expresses an objection he or she will immediately be branded ‘anti-Islam.’ The only way to stop it is at the national level, particularly at the level of the minister of home affairs.”
Gay rights are not a thing in one particular region of Muslim-majority Indonesia, not by a long shot. Under a new proposal in Indonesia’s Aceh province, gays face 100 lashes with a cane if caught engaging in homosexual acts. This would apply to both Muslims and non-Muslims in the region. The proposal is expected to pass as soon as Monday.
The Deputy Mayor of the Aceh province, Illiza Sa’aduddin Djamal, has been pushing for the measure against gays since at least May of 2013. Her province is the only area of Indonesia that enforces Islamic Sharia Law. Implementation of Sharia has been gradual since its introduction in the northwestern province of Indonesia in 2001.
According to the Jakarta Globe, Djamal has been itching to criminalize homosexuality, which she sees as “a social disease that should be eradicated.” She has shown great displeasure that her region of Indonesia has not had a specific law with which to charge gay couples, whom she says rent hotel rooms and do their acts shrouded in a veil of secrecy. The only existing statute stipulated that unmarried males and females were forbidden to be in close proximity (khalwat), but did not expressly forbid gay sex. The laws didn’t go far enough to satisfy her, partly because non-Muslims in Aceh, Indonesia, were not subject to the laws of Sharia.
“If we ignore it, it will be like an iceberg. Even if one case of homosexuality [is] found, it’s already a problem … we are really concerned about the behavior and activities of the gay community, because their behavior is deviating from the Islamic Shariah.”
The proposed measure explicitly spells out what acts of gay behavior will be considered illegal, reports AFP. Anal sex between men will be punishable with 100 lashes of a cane, generally a long, thin rattan stick. Women who engage in “the rubbing of body parts between women for stimulation” face the same penalty. Religious laws which previously were applied only to Muslims in Indonesia would now be applicable to non-Muslims as well.
Besides targeting gays, other Sharia regulations would be strengthened in the measure, reports the South China Morning Post, such as bans against these practices:
- alcohol consumption
- fraternization between unmarried men and women
- PDA – physical displays of affection, like touching or kissing, outside of marriage
In 2009, the parliament of Aceh in Indonesia passed an even stricter law, according to The Guardian, which called for long imprisonments for gay people, after they received 100 lashes. Adulterers could be stoned to death, according to the draconian by-law. There was an outcry from the international community after its passage, resulting in the by-law being overturned by the Indonesian provincial governor.
Ms. Djamal has found great support in the newer version of the statute against gays and adulterers. Ramli Sulaiman is the head of the commission that drafted the Indonesian law. He believes that a majority in the parliament are opposed to gay and adulterous behavior, and thus support the measure. The chances for its passage appear strong.
“We have studied the implementation of sharia in countries like Saudi Arabia, Brunei Darussalam and Jordan to draft this law and we are happy with it.”
There are some groups that do have a problem with it. Djohermansyah Djohan is the director general of regional autonomy at the ministry of home affairs. He says that his department has the authority to shut down the by-law if it is found to violate human rights.
That is exactly what it does, according to Amnesty International, which has told Aceh authorities that caning as a form of punishment, whether for gays or adulterers or any other perceived crime, violates international laws on human rights and torture, not to mention their own Indonesian constitution.
The writers at AFP state that the caning beatings that take place in Aceh, Indonesia, are supposedly “aimed at humiliating, rather than causing pain.” However, previous research from The Inquisitr reveals that AFP’s characterization falls far short of the actual damage that the canings inflict. A graphic photo in the Inquisitr piece [view with discretion] reveals the horrific wounds that one Aceh resident sustained under Sharia law after a caning with eight to nine lashes, far short of the 100 lashes that Aceh, Indonesia, may approve as early as Monday for people who commit adultery or are gay.
[images via Binsar Bakkara/AP Photo and Islamization Watch]