The women of the District of West Aceh can no longer wear jeans or tight skirts, considered indecent and against Islam. From yesterday in the city of Meulaboh, Wilayatul Hisbah (special police for the enforcement of Sharia), are patrolling the streets forcing people wearing the offending clothing to wear a tunic tailored to Islamic rules. The restrictions also affect men, who can not wear shorts in the tropical country.
Ramli Mansur, head of the district, said: "To enforce the Sharia, for the next days the special police will carry out raids against women who offend Islamic law." He adds that agents have purchased more than 20 thousand coats to be distributed in public places and created a series of checkpoints along the roads to the city to stop travellers.
The manoeuvre is the result of the new rules for the application of Islamic law introduced in December 2009. It has attracted the criticism from moderate Muslims and human rights activists, who see the application of Islamic law as a form of terrorism.
The province of Aceh, a famous tourist destination, is also the province where Sharia law is applied. In recent years the majority of Islamic restrictions were applied at the behest of Islamic religious authority. The current governor Irwandy Jusuf is a former leader of Free Aceh Movement Group (GAM), a movement for the independence of the island and over the years has always opposed the application of Sharia in the province.