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Aceh demanding gubernatorial candidates recite Koran BANDA ACEH - Election officials in Indonesia's strife-torn Aceh province have ordered that potential candidates for upcoming provincial polls must be able to recite from the Koran, Islam's holy book, in order to run, a local report said Thursday. The order is the latest in a series of controversial moves to impose a strict version of Islamic Law, or Shariah, in Aceh, despite the rest of Indonesia being secular.

Aceh, marred by a three-decade separatist war and the 2004 Asian Tsunami, the latter of which killed 177,000 people in the province, was granted the right to implement Shariah in 1999. The province lies on the northwest tip of Sumatra Island and its residents are considered Indonesia's most devout and pious Muslims. However, the implementation of Shariah has been a disaster, with morality enforcement police abusing their mandate, illegally arresting women for not wearing headscarves, and breaking into diplomatic compounds hoping to find Western aid workers drinking alcohol.

In the latest controversy, a female Acehnese politician vying for the governorship was disqualified by election officials who claimed she was unable to read from the Koran, which inexplicably is a requirement to be a candidate. Mediati Hafni Hanum, who represents Aceh in the Regional Representatives Council in Jakarta, demanded the Home Affairs Ministry intervene, saying her disqualification was a trick by rival politics to keep her from running, The Jakarta Post reported.

"My teacher testified to my skills in reciting the Koran and during the test I did it well, but based on the results, I was declared (as) failed," Hanum was quoted as saying. To prove her competence, Hanum read from the Koran during a fast-breaking ceremony in the office of Home Affairs Minister M. Ma'ruf in Jakarta on Wednesday afternoon, the Post reported. The minister reportedly said he would look into the case.

It was not immediately clear if Acehnese Christians were also required to read from the Koran to run for governor, deputy governor or parliament in the elections, scheduled for mid-December.



Posted in Politics @ 28 September 2006 05:47 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink





Yerun
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And there goes the last bit of secular Aceh ? A shame it has to come so far. I guess the junta in Thailand isn't there for nothing. They have their problems in the south as well, maybe they will deal with it in another way than Indonesia does today? Time will learn.



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