Banda Aceh mayor bans coffee shops from opening during evening prayers

CNN Indonesia – May 3, 2019
Officials patrol shops in Banda Aceh during Ramadan fasting month (Detik)
Officials patrol shops in Banda Aceh during Ramadan fasting month (Detik)

Jakarta – The mayor of the Acehnese provincial capital Banda Aceh, Aminullah Usman, has prohibited coffee shops from serving customers during shalat tarawih (evening prayers) during the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

“We forbid coffee shops from being open during shalat tarawih. Respect the people of Banda Aceh who are fasting”, said Usman as quoted by the Antara state news agency on Friday May 3.

Usman asserted that the prohibition on coffee shops serving customers during shalat tarawih has been conveyed through a joint call by the Regional Leadership Coordinating Forum or Forkopimda.

The call also warns food stalls and street traders not to sell food between dawn and dusk. The sale of food can only be carried out after 4 pm each day.

For food stalls, coffee shops and street traders selling food, they will be subject to harsh punishments if they ply their trade when people are fasting.

“The municipal government will act firmly against food stalls and food sellers [who operate] during the day. Likewise in the case of coffee shops that open during shalat tarawih. If they repeat the violation, then we will revoke their business license”, said Usman.

Usman has also asked Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) officers and the Wilayatul Hisbah (Islamic police) to monitor and enforce the law in accordance with prevailing regulations.

“We are warning the public, both Muslims as well as non-Muslims to pay heed to this call. The call has been issued to invigorate the holy month of Ramadan in Banda Aceh city”, said Usman.

Last year the Bireuen municipal government issued a circular on standardising coffee shops and restaurants in accordance with syariat Islam (Islamic law). One of the provisions prohibits men and women from sitting at the same table unless they are with someone related by blood or marriage (muhrim).

The circular contains 14 points related to managers and owners of coffee shops, people who wait on tables and coffee shop customers. The circular was signed by Bireuen Regent Saifannur on August 30, 2018.

Aside from prohibiting male and female customers who are non-muhrim from sitting together, the circular also prohibits women from being served after 9pm unless they are accompanied by a muhrim. (Antara/DAL)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Banda Aceh Larang Warung Kopi Buka Selama Salat Tarawih”.]