The men of Aceh are not fulfilling their Friday prayer obligations.
As the imposition of sharia law in Aceh goes on not all are happy with the performance of the Sharia Office and the religious police, Wilayatul Hisbah (WH), the bodies entrusted with seeing that the Acehnese perform their religious obligations.
Somebody called Lia, a resident of Banda Aceh, complains that sharia enforcement agencies are not taking action against the large number of men in the province who fail to do their Friday prayers in the mosque, or Jumatan. Lia says that the Dinas Syariat Islam and the WH are overly concerned with the behaviour of women, whether the matter of their having boyfriends, or their wearing clothes which are too figure hugging, while lazy, irreligious men get away with not carrying out their prayers.
Lia says everybody knows that under Islamic law men are required to perform prayers in the mosque every Friday, yet the religious authorities are more concerned with sinful activities such as "khalwat" (immoral proximity to a person of the opposite sex) and drinking.
I hope that the Dinas Syariat Islam and WH will pay more attention to this [Friday prayers].
In response Wirzaini Usman of the Sharia Office threw up his hands and said it wasn't just the religious authorities' responsibility to enforce such matters, families and individuals should make sure that people were doing the right thing. Sharia had to be enforced by all people in society, not just the upholders of the law.
Acehnese women more dutiful than their menfolk.
He went on to say that Friday prayers observance was not as important as sexual immorality crimes such as the wearing of tight clothes or behaviour which tended towards unlawful sex or adultery. Those who didn't shalat, or do their prayers, did not have a harmful effect on others, but if women wore tight fitting clothes then the men around them could be aroused into committing adultery or rape.
Until now his office had run routine patrols on Fridays urging men to do their duty and go to the mosque, but the matter had not been a great focus of attention. Patrols would be stepped up in the near future, he said, using female officers from the sharia office and ordinary policewomen. Those who were proven to have not performed their prayers for three Fridays running could be sentenced to six strokes of the cane or imprisoned for up to six months. antara