* Lets go to Aceh! Lets watch the public head,- hand & foot chopping, the canings, the stoning of women! Sharia in action! Come learn about sharia, Islamic justice!
* Hmm, thanks but no thanks. What else you got?
Banda Aceh, 23 Nov. (AKI) – 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.
* Don’t bet on it…
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.
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.
* So the only thing you can do in Aceh is learn about sharia? Get stuffed!