What is Sharia

theme - Political Planet

Where does Sharia apply?

In the constitution of several states, the Sharia is named as the source of legal understanding, for example in Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Kuwait, Lebanon, Sudan, Libya, Syria and in the United Arab Emirates. Especially in family law, it is the basis of legislation there. In Saudi Arabia, Oman, Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Sharia is largely equated with the legal system, which is why the countries are also called “God's states”. In some countries such as Nigeria or Indonesia there is only partial Sharia law, and in Malaysia only the Muslim majority of the population is judged according to the Sharia law.

Why is there Sharia law in Indonesia?

The province of Aceh is known as the "Veranda Mecca" because Islamic pilgrims used to have to travel through the northernmost province of Indonesia to reach sacred ground in Arabia. This is one of the reasons why Islam manifested itself particularly in Aceh.

At the same time, there have been repeated armed struggles for independence between the "Free Aceh Movement" (GAM) and the government in the past century. An important role is played by the FPI, which, according to documents on Wikileaks, has long been supported by the government as an intelligence force. In the course of peace negotiations after the tsunami disaster, Aceh was granted autonomy in certain areas - and in return Islamists were given permission to enforce Sharia law on certain points.

How is Sharia interpreted in Aceh Province?

In the Indonesian province of Aceh, "immoral" behavior such as alcohol consumption, gambling or extramarital sexual activities are punished, which often includes homosexual acts. In Indonesia, however, other crimes are judged according to legal texts.

The immoral behavior is punished with public whipping in the province of Aceh, with a hooded member of the Sharia police executing the sentence with a cane. An Islamic judge judges the cases beforehand - the province of Aceh has even introduced a modern e-portal in which information is provided about cases and about which those affected can file complaints.

In the case of corporal punishment, the exposure and shame of the perpetrators in front of the Islamic community are the main focus. Since the final introduction of Islamic criminal law in October 2015, more than 500 people have been flogged in Aceh, according to Human Rights Watch.

Cover picture: Fachrul Reza / Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images