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Elderly Christian Woman Publicly Caned 30 Times in Sharia-Controlled Aceh, Indonesia


International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that a 60-year-old Christian woman was tried and publicly caned 30 times for selling alcohol in Aceh, Indonesia’s most conservative Islamic region. The decision to try and punish a non-Muslim under the strict traditional guidelines of Sharia law is the first of its kind in the Aceh.

The region of Aceh has held a standing agreement with the secular government since 2001 that the conservative Islamic region be ruled under Sharia law. Under such laws, Muslims are punished for partaking in alcoholic consumption, adultery, gambling, homosexual acts, and even being associated with unwed members of the opposite sex. New bylaws were implemented in Aceh’s judicial code broadening Sharia’s reach to non-Muslims, placing Christians and other religious minorities under its jurisdiction.

Such things often happen here and we have become used to it,” a local pastor reported to ICC. “Being Christian here is not easy as the Sharia law is applied to everyone, including Christians.”

Aceh has had a history of persecution against religious minorities. In October of 2015, Islamic radical groups burned several churches and pressured local authorities to demolish 10 others. Thousands of Christians and other religious minorities have fled Aceh to neighboring provinces hoping to escape persecution. Since 2006, 1,000 churches have been closed in Aceh alone.

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