What do you typically do after church or synagogue? I usually go home and rest a bit before eating a good lunch and watching some football. Well in one part of Indonesia they had a different type of plan for after worship festivities this past week. Right after holy Friday services at the mosque people went outside to watch two faithful Muslim women get caned for a petty Sharia crime.
Aceh, Indonesia is a province on the northern tip of the large island of Sumatra. Aceh had long fought for independence from Indonesia (the largest Muslim populated nation in the world), but has given up that fight since the the Indonesian government allowed the people to carry out strict Sharia law a few years back. And now parts of Aceh have taken up vicious practices for Sharia law breakers. Punishments include long prison sentences for homosexuality and death by stoning for adulterers. And now the mentally backwards Sharia police are whipping women for the horrific sin of selling some rice during Ramadan at day time.
Two young women, Murni binti Amris, 27, and Rukiah binti Abdullah, 22, were accused of the supposed horrendous crime of selling rice on August 23rd. Even though no one is supposed to eat during the day on Ramadan, there are exceptions for pregnancies or medical issues. But there were no exceptions offered to these two women for selling food. They broke Sharia and were to be caned as an example.
Here is the official law in Aceh:
“Whosoever prepares facilities for Muslims that do not fulfill religious standards during the fasting month of Ramadan faces either a year in jail, a fine of Rp 3 million ($340) or being caned in front of an audience for a maximum of six times.”
Read how the Jakarta Globe describes the heart breaking scene when the two young women were beaten:
“With heads bowed, two young women walked toward a wooden stage outside Al Munawwarah Mosque in Jantho, Aceh Besar. Friday prayers had just ended, and hundreds of residents surrounded the platform, keeping a respectful distance but keen to watch.
The eyes of (the young women) began to water. They feared the worst when officers of the Shariah Police dragged them to the center of the stage. The women had dared to sell cooked rice in the daytime during Ramadan, violating the 2002 Islamic bylaw in Aceh.
With a quivering voice, Murni said: “Wait, sir.” She wanted to correct her sitting position. However, the man standing over her brandishing a rattan cane took no heed, lashing her three times across the back.
When it was Rukiah’s turn, she was whipped twice. She did not make a sound, although her face was wet with tears. A shout was heard from the crowd: “Add to it. Let her feel it.”
The detailed description of that moment is heartbreaking. Muslims leave their time of worship to cheer on two young women getting beaten for a fake crime. The sharia courts, police, and onlookers are the real criminals in this story.
While talking heads cry out in defense of Sharia, events just like this one in Aceh are going on all over the Muslim world. And while bloggers and politicians continue to complain that it is silly to think Sharia will come to the United States I sit and wonder. Could a city in America one day be so heavily populated with Muslims that our government would allow them local Sharia enforcement? Is it really that hard to imagine? I hope for the sake of women and children especially, such a thing will never take place.
Paul Cooper is a husband and father above all else. With a wife and 2 daughters he could use a dog, but sadly he only owns a cat – a female cat no less. Paul is also a pastor, blogger, and business owner. Find him on Twitter.