Aceh invites tourists to see Sharia law in action - Tourism Indonesia


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Aceh invites tourists to see Sharia law in action

Tourism authorities in Indonesia's Aceh province hope that its practice of Sharia or Islamic law will attract visitors.

"We invite international tourists to visit Aceh to observe how an Islamic community lives and how the Islamic code of Sharia is applied," said Cipta Hunai, an Aceh tourism official, in an interview with Adnkronos International (AKI).

Muslim-devout Aceh is the only province in Indonesia allowed to apply Sharia law. However observers say that the application of Sharia in the province has harmed the rights of the poor and women.

Hunai said that Sharia allowed for the development of a peaceful and secure community in Aceh which would be appreciated by tourists. He said that Sharia law in Aceh was a tourist attraction because it allowed foreigners to see a reality, that perhaps, they did not already know.

"Here the tourists can visit many mosques and see how a community lives under laws based on the Koran," he said.

Hunai denied that public canings - which are allowed and used to punish some crimes - could shock and discourage non-Muslim tourists.

"We don't believe that this can scare anyone. In any case, the punishments are carried out to correct Muslims who have made mistakes," he said.

"But one must remember that these punishments are only applied to Muslims and here even the religious minority is respected," he added.


  1. Sharia tourism was the subject of NZTV: "Fancy some Sharia tourism? Go to Aceh. Drinking is banned. Adultery and gambling too.Even being in a dark place with a member of the opposite sex - if you're not married to them - can earn offenders public canings.It has led to a different kind of tourism experience for travellers who decide to go. For example, hotels with swimming pools have segregated swimming times so men and women are not in the water at the same time.
    And hotels are definitely not exempt from the drinking ban."

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