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This Is What a Sharia Law Patrol Looks like While Driving through Indonesia

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Posted by moku 4 months ago in News
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The Sharia police see themselves as the guardians of Islam in Aceh.

Decked out in military-style, olive-green uniforms and berets, they cruise the streets in their open-top vehicles, looking for anyone breaking Islamic law.

Their first stop is the beach. It is a popular destination for teenagers in Aceh at night.

A romantic ballad plays on the speakers, while young couples lounge on plastic chairs, in front of makeshift cafes.

Boys in their jeans and some girls in their jilbabs, eating corn on the cob and sipping Coca-Cola. A picture of harmless, innocent adolescence.

But the party does not last long. The Sharia police are here - and they zero in on their first target. A young boy and girl, sitting too close to one another in the dark.

What happens next would be almost farcical if it was not so humiliating for those involved. The Sharia police surround the couple, demanding to see their identity cards.

The young girl, wearing a bright yellow jilbab, turns away, too embarrassed to speak.

The boy, clean shaven and handsome, tries to explain that they were doing nothing wrong - just hanging out and talking, but is cut short by one of the men in charge.

They are told to get out of the dark and leave the beachfront. It is late and they should not be out at night - especially since they are unmarried and not related to one another by blood.

"Under our laws, an unmarried man and woman who sit alone together in the dark are immoral," Zaki Almubarak tells me.

"To prevent them from committing adultery, we stop them."

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