Saturday, November 24, 2007

Aceh invites tourists to see Sharia law in action

Adnkronos reported 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).
Gee, it sounds like a fun-filled vacation. You may not get to drink, or listen to music, or many other things, but you get to see women stoned to death, and people beheaded. Doesn't that sound like fun.
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.
And also the rights of middle class and rich and men. That is it's purpose.
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
One might be interesting, but what is to be gained by seeing many?
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.
As long as they were not caned.
"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.
Can Christians build Churches, and talk publically about their faith, or must they do that in secret, and pay a big tax besides?
Corporal punishment is carried out in Aceh for crimes including the sale or consumption of alcohol, gambling or meeting a person of the opposite sex, that is not your husband, wife or family member, in a private place.
Any of the fun stuff.
According to data provided by local tourism authorities, there has been an increase in the number of visitors to Aceh, the province that was the epicentre of the massive 26 December 2004 tsunami which killed some 170,000 people and left thousands of others homeless. In 2005, just over 4,000 international tourists
Probably to see if they could help those hurt by the tsunami, not for the pleasure of seeing Sharia in action.
and 320,000 Indonesian tourists visited the province
Hopefully they learned enough about life under Sharia that they will not extend it to the rest of the country.

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