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27 December 2005

Tsunami was God's revenge for your wicked ways, women told

(timesonline.co.uk)  Religious extremists are using last year’s storm to oppress the survivorsMarluddin Jalil, a Sharia judge

Religious extremists are using last year’s storm to oppress the survivors
MARLUDDIN JALIL, a Sharia judge who has ordered the punishment of women for not wearing headscarves, was uncompromising: “The tsunami was because of the sins of the people of Aceh.”


Thundering into a microphone at a gathering of wives, he made clear where he felt the fault lay: “The Holy Koran says that if women are good, then a country is good.”

A year after the disaster which many see as a divine punishment, emboldened Islamic hardliners are doing their best to eradicate sin — and women are their prime targets.

With reconstruction slow, irrational fears of a second tsunami high, and nearly 500,000 still homeless along 500 miles of coastline, the stern message falls on fertile ground. A Sharia police force modelled on Saudi moral enforcers enthusiastically seeks out female wrong doers for public humiliation.

The Wilayatul Hisbah, which loosely translates as “Control Team”, has arrested women, lopped off their hair, and paraded them in tears through the streets while broadcasting their sins over a megaphone.

More than 100 gamblers and drinkers — men and women — have been caned in public and some clerics are calling for thieves’ hands to be amputated.

The Islamic law introduced without popular enthusiasm in 2002 has been implemented rigorously since the tsunami, especially in towns such as Lhokseumawe, where Fatimah Syam, of Indonesian Women for Legal Justice, knows of 20 women who have fallen foul of it.

She said: “They seek out women without headscarves or unmarried girls meeting boys in private and parade them through the streets in an open car. I’ve seen the police laughing and boasting, and the girls in tears. The Sharia police say the tsunami happened because women ignored religion. We never heard of this parading before the tsunami.”

The poor, powerless and female have borne the brunt of the moral enforcers’ righteousness. Mrs Syam claimed the wife of an official caught without a headscarf on a scooter was let off last month and a prostitute who was paraded through the town won the sympathy of passers-by because of the hypocrisy of her persecutors: the woman’s client was allowed quietly to disappear.

The religious police have not always had it their own way. In one incident on the island of Sabang, attempts to humiliate a bareheaded girl backfired when angry villagers turned on them. By the time the civil police arrived to rescue the enforcers they were surrounded by an angry mob flicking lighted cigarettes at them.

But such setbacks and public unease have not dampened the zeal of Dr Jalil, a small, neat man with a trimmed moustache whose particular concerns are headscarves, gambling, alcohol, and girls meeting boys. “Sin starts small and gets bigger,” he said. His next target is a displaced persons’ camp outside Lhokseumawe where he has heard of young men and women freely mixing.

“Another tsunami is possible,” he said. “The Holy Koran says that if humans don’t listen to Allah they will be punished.”

He was not sure whether there was more or less sin since the disaster although he believes that the Acehnese are more God-fearing now. In the tent camps and temporary wooden barracks where desperate survivors endure grim conditions, Dr Jalil’s views are often well received. There are 67,000 survivors still living in tents and a further 75,000 are in the slum barracks, which are taking on a semipermanent air. Only half of those who lost their jobs in the disaster are back at work and drug abuse among the young is growing.

Although Aceh province is now a giant building site, the sheer scale of destruction has slowed work. A third of government servants died and 1,000 miles of roads were wiped out, making the logistics of recovery extremely difficult.

The Government says it has built 12,000 of the 80,000 permanent homes it aims for and that housing will be its top priority next year. But some aid workers think there could still be families under canvas in three years’ time.

Surnyati Alian, five months pregnant, is a typical survivor, squeezed with her family of four into a 12ft square tent beside a stinking ditch among the ruins of Meulaboh on the west coast. Like many Acehnese women she is desperate for a new family. Her four-year-old daughter was torn from her grasp as the wave crashed down on them. The child’s body was never found. Now she faces the prospect of nursing a new baby in a tent that is black with mould.

In such conditions wild theories about the tsunami thrive. In a version of Pop Idol organised by the American and Indonesian Red Cross in Barak Lampaseh camp in Banda Aceh, the winner was 12-year-old Sheila Mentari, whose song told how God sent the wave as punishment for sin. She said her father, who died in the wave, would have approved.

A fellow villager Marzuki Lidan, 46, who lost his wife and children, was among the enthusiastic audience. He said: “The Sharia police are good Muslims doing an excellent job. We must listen to them and follow God’s rules. Otherwise the tsunami will happen again.”


  • 18,149 permanent shelters built; 75,576 living in organised barracks; 67,504 in tent camps; 293,740 in host families.


  • A quarter of those in need expected to be in permanent housing by end of year

  • Almost 70 per cent of fishing boats destroyed rebuilt or being constructed


11:46 Posted in Indonesia | Permalink | Comments (1) |  Facebook |


FUCK YOU! !!!!!!!
what does this shit all say? Find something better to do with your time!!!

Posted by: Does it matter | 31 December 2005

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