Gubernatorial candidates in Aceh must be able to recite the Koran. One candidate, Mediati Hafni Hanum, failed the test.
While Sidney Jones says the elections in Aceh, due to be held on December 11th, will not threaten peace in the province, they may threaten Indonesia's credibility in the eyes of the world. Mediati Hafni Hanum, the only female candidate for governor, said that the Independent Election Committee (KIP) announced that she failed a koranic reading ability test she had underwent on September 7th. Candidates must pass the test to be able to take part in the elections in Aceh. While admitting that she is no Quran reading expert she said:
I was asked to read the books of Al Insyirah and Al Mukminun. I read them just fine.
(Saya diminta membaca surat Al Insyirah dan Al Mukminun. Saya membaca memang biasa saja.)
Mediati Hafni Hanum.
Mediati, who is currently a member of the Regional Representatives Council in Jakarta, appears to be disputing the matter, claiming that she is actually proficient in Quran recitation and that the electoral authorities just don't want her to run.
I'm sure that it's not the fault of the judges but that this comes from conspiratorial acts by the KIP. It really looks like there are several people who want me to withdraw my candidacy.
(Saya yakin yang salah ini bukan para juri penilainnya. Tapi ini berasal dari tindakan konspirasi dari Komisi Independen Pemilu (KIP) NAD. Memang sepertinya ada beberapa pihak yang menginginkan saya agar mengundurkan diri dari pencalonan.)
To prove her competence, she read from the Koran during a fast-breaking ceremony in the office of Home Affairs Minister M. Ma'ruf in Jakarta on the 27th, the Jakarta Post said. She plans to take the matter to the courts if the electoral authorities keep insisting she is a dullard at Quran reading.
Out of 290 candidates for various government positions in Aceh 17 failed the Alquran reading test. The relevant law on the matter of quran literacy is to be found in qanun (regional law) No.7/2006 and reads:
Menjalankan syariat agamanya dan mampu membaca Alquran bagi yang beragama Islam.
or "candidates must aid in the application of religious law and Muslim candidates be able to read the Quran".