Yuli is a young woman who drives a scooter in Banda Aceh in Indonesia, but when she enters the city, a policeman is bound to halt her, have her stand, and then check her clothes. If the hemline is too high, it is a crime in this Sharia driven province. The other day the Sharia police told her to quit wearing jeans and put on some good Islamic clothes. In a single hour, eight women were forced to have their clothes examined and charged with having tight slacks or blouses that reveal too much of the female figure. Only three men were halted and cited for wearing shorts. Sharia police commissioner Hali Marzuki insisted: “we have to respect shaira law, which has been adopted by the provisional government and which stipulates that women can only show their faces and hands.”
Aceh province is among the few areas in Indonesia where sharia is enforced. However, it is not as strict as Muslim nations like Saudi Arabia. Unlike strict sharia law enforcers, the Indonesian version is carried out by police who tend to be polite and avoid physical punishment of offenders. As one sharia policeman commented: “punishment is not the objective of the law. We must convince and explain.”
Of course, when two lovers have to make out, they make certain to be discreet and avoid being seen by anyone, let alone the sharia police.