Feri Fernandes, Lhokseumawe – The administration of the northern Acehnese town of Lhokseumawe has officially issued a circular banning women passengers from straddling motorbikes. The circular has been posted at busy city centres. Below are the contents of the circular.
In order to uphold Islamic law in its entirety, safeguard the cultural and traditional and customs of Acehnese society in their daily social interactions, as well as a concrete endeavour by the Lhokseumawe municipal government to combat public violations of God’s law, the government hereby announces to all members of the public in the territory of Lhokseumawe city that:
1. Adult women carried as passengers on a motorbike by a lawful spouse or male relative, husband or another women, shall not sit astride (duek phang), except in situations where it is unavoidable or in an emergency;
2. [When traveling] on vehicles, whether they be a motorbike, car and/or other vehicle, it is prohibited to act in an impolite manner such as hugging or embracing, holding on to each other and/or in other ways that violate Islamic law, the culture and traditional customs of Acehnese society;
3. Men as well as women shall not pass through public places wearing clothing that does not cover their aurat [private parts of the body that must be covered in Islam, usually exempting the face and hands], tight clothing or other apparel that violates Islamic law and public order on attire;
4. All village heads, district residents, sub-district heads, heads of government or private institutions, shall convey this order to all of their subordinates as well as to all layers of society.
We hereby convey this appeal in order that it is implemented with full awareness in the endeavour to uphold Islamic law.
The circular, numbered 002/2013 and dated January 2, 2013, is signed by Lhokseumawe Mayor Suaidi Yahya, Regional House of Representatives (DPRK) speaker Saifuddin Yunus, Consultative Council (MPU, assembly of religious leaders in Aceh) chairperson Tengku Asnawi Abdullah and Aceh Traditional Council (MAA) Chairperson Tengku Usman Budiman. In three months time, the imposition of the circular will be evaluated, then it is planned to be enacted as a regulation. (try/mad)
[Ini Dia Surat Edaran Larangan Ngangkang Bagi Perempuan – DetikNews. Senin, 07/01/2013. Translated by James Balowski.]