For Protecting Women


Islamic province bans women pillion passengers from straddling motorbikes to protect their ‘morals’ in Indonesia

A city in an Indonesian province which follows Sharia law is to ban women from straddling on motorbikes behind male drivers.

Leaflets have been sent to residents and government offices in the city of Lhokseumawe to inform them about the new rules.

The mayor of the city, Suaidi Yahya, said the change in law is to save people’s ‘morals and behaviours’.

Controversial: A city in an Indonesian province which follows Sharia law is to ban women from straddling on motorbikes behind male drivers. This is a file picture

Controversial: A city in an Indonesian province which follows Sharia law is to ban women from straddling on motorbikes behind male drivers. This is a file picture

The new regulation has already been criticised – including from well known Muslim activists.

Lhokseumawe is in the province of Aceh, which is the only Indonesian province which follows Sharia law.

According to Mr Yahya, women will only be allowed to sit side saddle. He claimed that when women straddle the bike seat it violates Islamic values.

Speaking to the BBC, he said: ‘When you see a woman straddle, she looks like a man. But if she sits side-saddle, she looks like a woman.’

Religion: Aceh is the only Indonesian province to follow Sharia lawReligion: Aceh is the only Indonesian province to follow Sharia law

The new regulation will be assessed by the local government in a month. It could then by turned into a by-law.

Mr Yahya admitted that if women do not follow the rule, they could face punishment. ‘Once it has become a by-law, automatically there will be sanctions,’ he said.

A number of Muslim activists have criticised the regulation.

Ulil Abshar Abdalla, based in Jakarta, said: ‘How to ride a motorbike is not regulated in Sharia. There is no mention of it in the Koran or Hadiths.’

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