Aceh regency enforces curfew on women, prohibits employment of trans women in cafes

Detik News – September 4, 2018
Saifannur pictured centre and circular on 'standardisation' of cafes - September 4, 2018 (Tribune)
Saifannur pictured centre and circular on 'standardisation' of cafes - September 4, 2018 (Tribune)

Agus Setyadi, Aceh – Bireuen regent Saifannur has issued a new regulation on the “standardisation” of coffee shops, cafes and restaurants in the regency in accordance with Sharia law.

In one of the points, it states that it is haram (forbidden under Islamic law) for men and women to eat at the same table unless they are muhrim – lawfully married or related.

“Point number 13 says that it is haram for men and women to eat or drink at the same table except with their muhrim. If they are with their muhrim there’s no problem right, but if it’s not with a muhrim then it is haram, because under sharia law that’s haram”, said the head of the Bireuen sharia agency (Kadis Syariat Islam) Jufliwan when sought for confirmation by on Tuesday September 4.

The regulation on the standardisation of coffee shops was signed by Saifannur on August 30. The regulation contains 14 points which regulate behaviour at coffee shops. Of these, points 9 and 13 have attracted most attention.

Point 9 states that it is forbidden to serve women customers after 9pm unless they are with a muhrim. The other points meanwhile regulate what types of clothing are acceptable and prohibit coffee shops from employing members of the LGBT community or waria (trans women).

According to Jufliwan, the regulation was issued in order to prevent violations of sharia law in Bireuen. The regulation on non-muhrim men and women sitting at the same table meanwhile is designed to prevent illicit affairs (perselingkuhan).

“It’s to prevent things like perselingkuhan happening. Our aim is to prevent violations of sharia law taking place, nothing else”, explained Jufliwan.

“So it sets standards for coffee shops right, that’s the standard. Meanwhile if women want to drink coffee [in public after 9am] please go ahead, but only with your muhrim. That’s sharia law right”, said Jufliwan.

Despite this however, there are no penalties stipulated yet for violating these standards. The Bireuen regency government is simply appealing to the public and will continue to socialise the regulation so that people obey the values of Islamic law.

“We will continue to socialise it, there aren’t any penalties yet. If there are violations of Islamic law there will be Satpol PP [public order agency officers] and WH [Wilayatul Hisbah, Sharia police] [to enforce it]”, he said. (asp/asp)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was Bupati di Aceh Keluarkan Fatwa Haram Nonmuhrim Ngopi Semeja.]