Indonesia. Authorities in Indonesia’s ultra-conservative Aceh province have issued an order banning people of the opposite sex from riding in the same vehicle.
Men and women without family ties, and especially those of the opposite sex who are not married, have been ordered to sit separately in vehicles and public places. The local government said that the order would be strictly implemented and instructed all concerned to follow it fully.
A circular was issued last week saying that unmarried men and women are not allowed to sit in private, public, or private vehicles. Aceh government spokesperson Muhammad Mta said that the order was issued as an effort to enforce Islamic values in daily life. He clarified that the order was issued after consultation with Islamic religious leaders.
Located on the northern tip of the island of Sumatra, Aceh is the only province in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country to enforce Islamic law. Despite widespread criticism, efforts have been made to implement the order. Aceh, which has sharia law under the wide autonomy granted by Jakarta, is publicly flogged for crimes such as gambling, drinking, and having extramarital affairs.