Aceh Tourism

Sep 6th, 2007, in News, Travel, by

Islamic law helps tourism in Aceh.

The head of the Aceh Tourism department, Cipta Hunai, said on 30th August that the application of Islamic law in the province would not have a negative effect on tourist numbers and tourism development generally, but instead the opposite.

Islamic law certainly won’t [negatively] influence the tourist sector, rather it might give Aceh a special appeal.

Both domestic and foreign tourists would be drawn to Aceh because of Islamic law, he said, because sharia would create a peaceful, safe, and clean environment which tourists would love.

Islam was a religion which put much importance on friendliness and good behaviour towards guests, and this would be another tourism draw-card, making Aceh unique.

What people want is a friendly and safe place [for a holiday] and it’s all set down in the sharia that is being applied in Aceh.

So far tourist numbers had not declined since sharia began to be introduced. antara

This shows that sharia will never bother other people.

65 Comments on “Aceh Tourism”

  1. deta says:

    You are correct it is a typical attitude of a foreigner (or whatever word you were thinking)

    I was going to say it is a typical attitude of a nasty opportunistic expatriate, actually.

    No, I am never offended by you or other posters here on individual level. But unless you’re just a temporary tourist, this packing up and leave attitude is a bit disappointing from international companies / expats who graze on Ind soil. But you’re probably right, what else can we expect other than their invested cash? Jee$$$…

  2. Oigal says:

    this packing up and leave attitude is a bit disappointing from international companies / expats who graze on Ind soil

    typical attitude of a nasty opportunistic expatriate

    Nasty?? Bit harsh! It’s just that expatriates have the ability to leave should the need arise and in the real world that is exactly what they would do. To take it to an extreme, should Sharia law keep pushing its way into the provinces, do you really expect those expats with no voting rights and mixed families to stand by to watch that nonsense pushed onto their families or vote with their feet? Should the morons with rags for brains begin to make the streets more and more dangerous while the police stand by, would a person not be negligent to remain if he had the ability to remove the risk? Remember what we said about loyalty being a two way street. As for opportunistic that’s a chuckle, considering an expat’s daily encounters with government officials.

    As for any (national or international) company what else did you expect? All companies are driven by the return on invested cash or they cease to exist.

    I venture to say perhaps we are missing the the larger point here. Foreign companies and expats have little or no bearing on the future of Indonesia and whilst it makes some feel good to blame it all on external factors (like seatbelts are a colonial plot??) at the end of the day who cares? Even if it was correct and if and when it all turns to custard, the vast majority of those foreign companies will have moved on along with those who can. Guess who is left behind saying its not fair? Why didn’t somebody do something before it got this bad? Could not have been me, I was busy doing something else, not my fault.

    Oh, I am still curious have you ever written a letter to your elected member of parliament accusing him of being an nasty, opportunistic creature gazing on Indonesia? If not seems strange you would hold higher expectations from me (us) than those who should be representing your desires and hopes for the future. A working viable democracy requires active participation from the electorate, there is no point whinging about the state of government if you are not willing to do anything about it.

    Someone once said “the people get the type of government they deserve”

  3. deta says:

    Boring. Seems to me that you love to expand the subject to the extent that you can include FPI and blaming on others, in each of your post though it’s not relevant with my previous comment. If my memory serves me correctly, it was you who said that what happens here is a collective responsibility, why didn’t you say that it excludes you?

    Someone once said “the people get the type of government they deserve”

    I guess that explains why you stay here.

  4. Oigal says:

    Boring..I do so concur..

  5. deta says:

    Yeah.. nice try to stir the possum, though.

  6. ET says:


    Do you blame the hundreds of thousands expatriate workers of all nationalities who are evacuated now from Libya for opportunistically abandoning their grazing grounds?

  7. inong says:

    i have same opinion with deta.
    guys, like deta said, inong means woman in acehnese language. so, i’m a woman, and i’m never beaten or beating anyone. we don’t beat people every friday. we don’t beat poor people. i’m surprised how people with a limited knowledge are brave enough to accuse us like that. lashing cane is rare to use; only for people who broke serious islamic law, usually for: gambler, adulterer, drunkard. well, maybe those sins mean nothing to you but for muslims around the world, those are some of the biggest sins in islam.
    most of acehnese are muslims and implementation of islamic sharia in aceh was requested by the people (read history book more, including about daud beureuh rebellion). guys, pliz read more before talking. and if u have friends here, ask them, do we beat people without any strong reason? i know some people from aussie and other countries, they’re non muslims, and never get beaten. they lead a good live here. they work, they travel, they enjoy their lives. what’s wrong with u guys?

  8. deta says:


    Do you blame the hundreds of thousands expatriate workers of all nationalities who are evacuated now from Libya for opportunistically abandoning their grazing grounds?

    So, it’s Libya now? 🙂 I am aware that any sensible being will search a favorable environment for their business (though it can have different meaning to different people, there is unwritten consensus on what qualifies as this favorable, so no need to prolong on this). And I feel sorry if some of them feel no attachment to the country other than through their invested or withdrawn cash. But, in which part I ever implied that I blame on evacuated people during a revolution? – or blame on anyone, for that matter? It’s getting weird, ET. Move on….

  9. ET says:

    @ inong

    i know some people from aussie and other countries, they’re non muslims, and never get beaten.

    But they get rounded up and hassled by the Wilayatul Hizbah, like those tsunami relief workers for playing football while showing their aurat (read: knees) or foreign women – also relief workers – accused of khalwat for gathering socially with other foreign men during their spare time, or this quote from “Islamic Law and Criminal Justice in Aceh, International Crisis Group Asia Report N°117, 31 July 2006”.

    On 19 February 2006, in one of the most notorious
    incidents, three women non-governmental
    organisation (NGO) activists taking part in a UNDP
    workshop on peace education at the Sultan Hotel in
    Banda Aceh were seized without warning by a WH
    team for not wearing headscarves while talking
    quietly in the hallway outside their hotel rooms at
    about 11:30 pm. Some twenty WH men and women
    grabbed them by the arms, took them down the stairs
    “as though we were criminals” and put them into a
    vehicle with six previously seized women. They
    were taken to the mayor’s office, where they were
    told to sign statements admitting their guilt. They
    refused to do so, but in the end had no choice. They
    were also obliged to listen to a 45-minute lecture
    on the need to live according to Shari’a principles.
    Other workshop participants went to the police
    station and made a formal complaint against the
    WH. The raid was overseen by Muzakkir Tulot,
    who made coarse remarks to the women and their
    fellow activists.

    Since you seem so keen on reading I suggest you also read the complete ICG report mentioned before. You may download it for free from their website.

  10. ET says:


    But, in which part I ever implied that I blame on evacuated people during a revolution? – or blame on anyone, for that matter? It’s getting weird, ET. Move on….

    I was only referring to Oigal’s comment

    when it gets too bad me and mine shall move on to more civilised climes.

    which seemed to offend you. Isn’t when it gets too bad or revolution synonymous?

  11. Oigal says:

    To clarify my position a little then and hopefully without incurring the Wrath of Khan.

    Besides the obvious revolution aka 1998 examples, should the province I am in adopt an Aceh type mentality, with gangs of barely literate thugs (male and female)riding around harassing women and couples in the street then yes I would seriously consider packing up and moving on. I do understand how that could be considered offensive to some but hey..

    Am I missing something? Would anyone sane accept the fact their wife, partner or daughter can be picked up off the street and taken to some office for “re-education” because her jeans were too tight? (Let alone accept the fact of what happened to a couple of those poor girls)

    And yes, I accept that expats would get a bit of a free pass in some aspects but you can bet that would not apply to their Indonesian partners or children who happen to be in the wrong place at wrong time.

    Lastly, Inong if one accepts that canning etc is only for those who broke serious Islamic Law, when can we expect to see serious offenders of such laws being punished in this way instead of street vendors and the poor? I do believe you have an ex Governor and more than a couple of high government officials that may qualify? I might make the trip for that.

  12. inong says:

    hehe, well ET, they’ve got 45 minutes lecture, they did not get beaten, did they? don’t tell me what to listen, i’ve been here since i was born, no single foreigner ever get beaten since sharia islam is implemented here. btw, u know what? khalwat is considered as a serious offense in my religion’s law, even the society dislike it and there are many voices say: ‘why foreigner behave like that, aren’t they shy?’. so, it’s a case of disrespect that those people show toward the implementation of islamic sharia. it’s okay if u want to do ur sins every day but at least show a little respect when u come to aceh and u’ll be okay. one of an englishmen that i know say that acehnese are so friendly. he never get beaten until he’s back to his country.

  13. ET says:

    hehe, well ET, they’ve got 45 minutes lecture, they did not get beaten, did they?

    OMG. I guess they should have said “thank you” for not getting beaten and having a free lesson on sharia law.

    But don’t worry, I’ll show my respect to your region and its sharia law by simply staying away.

  14. inong says:

    owh, oigal talked to me too,,
    serious offenders,,
    well, oigal, i’ll not blame the law if the implementation is not like what we want. in islam, everyone is same, but yes, here in aceh, the implementation is not 100% like what Allah has ordered. it’s not because of the law, but it’s because of the people. however, isn’t it a good news for u, tourists? u shouldn’t worry get beaten. so, back to the first issue, sharia law will not disturb tourists. isn’t it the point, actually? and, since what u know is only what the media says, let me tell you that it’s been a long time we haven’t seen any canning punishment here.

  15. inong says:

    yes, they have to,
    ET, nice to hear that. we don’t need people like u to come here,

  16. Oigal says:


    You are right, I would not get beaten, well not without some interesting returns anyway. “In Islam everyone is the same”..Bit like communism really but doesn’t work out that way when human nature and the human condition takes over.

    Trouble is when you have barely educated thugs imposing their view of what is right in the eyes of their particular God there is no right of appeal or process to prevent such abuses.

    Sharia law will not bother tourists? Are you sure? So if my Indonesian partner and daughter go shopping at night wearing jeans (notice I did not say short dresses or bikinis) they would not be harassed by the self appointed morality police. How about if my Indonesian partner wishes to go out her own at night? Any problems? Or will I be forced to travel down to the local WH office and deliver my own lesson on morality and respect?

    I think ET pointed out that its a fallacy to claim the self appointed don’t harass outsiders.

    At the end of the day, if Sharia (even the lopsided version) is what the people want in Aceh, so be it. However let’s not pretend it does not apply to tourists or would not impact them. That’s a choice Aceh has made and based on that image tourists shall make there choices as well.

    As for a 45 minute lecture?? From who? The sheer arrogance that someone thinks they have the authority to grab someone off the street on morality is astounding. Let alone try intimidate them into signing false confessions.

    Oh and just for my own benefit and education, where in the Koran did Allah say Sharia shall be implemented. My understanding is the concept of Sharia came several hundred years later but I stand ready to be enlightened.

    Sorry but I am with ET here, not likely to see me or mine in Aceh until some basic respect is given to human rights. Respect is as always a two way street it cannot be demanded it must be earned.

  17. Oigal says:

    While we are talking about Aceh Tourism, there are some interesting comments in the below link. Seems a split of opinions but generally

    nice stuff to see but pass it’s not worth the hassle.

  18. diego says:

    I guess Aceh wouldn’t be so bad if their moral polices are more like this:

  19. inong says:

    hmm, in aceh, sharia law is only for muslims
    for non-muslims, we only ask them to dress properly. in my campus, for example, the non-muslim women don’t have to wear veil, jilbab, or whatever u call it, u know, the headscarf.
    but, they musn’t show up their calf, thigh, or other sensitive parts of their body., they just have to behave politely actually
    sharia will not bother tourists as long as they don’t get drunk on street, do not create troubles, and respect the sharia.
    in bali, tourists know how to respect the hindu (ex: at Nyepi Day they obey not to do outdoor activities), why can’t they respect the muslims in aceh, then? what makes them so allergic to islam?

  20. Oigal says:


    By your statement that is not true, foreigners were already detained and lectured. They were not on the street, or drunk or annoying any one else.
    It is also a big call to say Sharia is Islam, as I asked before where in the Koran does it mention Sharia? Sharia is creature of many shapes, all different all based on how a “man” decided what Allah was saying. Again happy for you to correct my ignorance and point out the definitive chapters on Sharia so at least we are all talking about the same thing. Sharia’s supporter here declined to answer so I ask you in all seriousness. Where exactly are these laws and protocols defined? Certainly they seem to be a fairly fluid and vague set of rules so they must be man made? For Islamic Banking, well Malaysia reckons they have it but its not accepted by all so that cannot be it. Driving cars some do, some don’t. Women out after dark, yes, no. what time? Cover up, how much when? Who can see you uncovered, when? what age?

    Since when did someone’s calf become a sensitive part of the body? No one is saying they should enter a place of worship like that but walking down the street? seriously? a calf? Personally I find a woman’s eyes particularly arousing but I guess that would lead to some problems. Respect is a two way street not a list of demands by one group to another.

    Surely if you want tourists to understand and respect the laws then surely there must be a place to get copy of Sharia regulations written down in a form all can understand.

    Oh my sister may wish to come with her partner and three kids. They have been together 21 years with three kids, of course not married as like me have little time for dogma over substance. Will they be allowed to share a room or will they need a marriage certificate. What about me and my Indonesian partner, will we need to prove that we are married?

    All seems a bit vague and a large hassle.

    Ok I was being a of troll there, but seriously lets not pretend Sharia does not effect tourists or tourism. If that’s what Aceh wants, their call but you get to take the good with bad. The bad is Sharia is death to tourism particularly when you are selling beaches, sun and views. Plenty of that elsewhere without the hassle.

  21. ET says:

    inang said

    what makes them so allergic to islam?

    Good question. All wisdom starts with questioning and introspection.

    Even if foreign tourists aren’t (yet) personally affected by islamic rules or habits, many have – thanks to widespread information in the media and on the internet – a fair idea of some of its devastating effects on human rights issues like FGM, child marriage, discrimination and oppression of women, stoning and other disproportionate corporal punishments for minor non-capital offences, etc. This has led them to have a closer look at the scriptures of Islam – Qur’an and Sunnah – where they find corroboration of their earlier suspicions and even more elements to come to a conclusion that Islam is a totalitarian ideology disguised as a religion, with a mission to conquer and uniformize humanity, making it bow into one direction: Mecca . In other words a mission to eliminate diversity of human thought, the main catalyst for progress and development. Not for nothing do the Muslim majority countries in the world count – despite the natural riches of some – to the poorest in terms of living conditions.

    No rosy verses of the Qur’an can deny the reality that the Qur’an’s 114 surah don’t appear in chronological order and that the last revealed surah’s – Nrs 5 and 9, which according to Islamic scholars abrogate the former ones – are final and absolute for ALL Muslims. They cannot be changed or cancelled.
    Surah 5 of the Qur’an was revealed after Muhammad’s massacres of the Jews, ordering a total separation and enmity between Muslims and the People of the Book, the genocide of Jews and Christians and the abolition of their religions.
    Surah 9, the Sword verse, is Islam’s Ultimatum to the World. Islam or Else!

    You asked the question, I gave you the answer. And don’t blame the kuffar if they delve deeper into your holy books than what your imams care to teach you.

  22. inong says:

    oigal,there are many people here who still doubt about the success of aceh tourism since we have sharia. i’ve asked many people; students, teachers, lecturers, civil servant, most of them have same opinion: aceh tourism will not work well because even if we try to explain that sharia is harmless for tourism, tourists will not trust us. some people who talked to me say, maybe we have to change the idea: let’s invite tourists who are muslims, though i still doubt it.
    oigal, sources of islamic law consists of these: quran, hadits, ijma’, n qiyas. sharia is not man made. in surah annisa for example, the obligation is really clear.
    ET, it seems to me that u know islam but i guess you bend some facts to hurt muslims’ feeling.
    in islam, we must not attack, but when we’re attacked, killed, we have to stand and fight back.
    u know what? quran was revealed in phases. there was asbabun nuzul for those surahs. muhammad the prophet never made any genocide even if the jewish betrayed muslims in a war and boycotted muslims. when muslims came back to mecca (what we call as fathul makkah), muhammad (peace be upon him) ensured the safety for all non-muslims. he never had any will to payback for all bad things the kaffir had done to muslims. even for wahsyi, a kaffir who killed his uncle. he forgave.
    and in war, muslims are forbidden to do these:
    damage environment, cut down trees, hurt women and old men and children, hurt people who are in worship places (regardless the religion they believe in). and we have to forgive those who have surrendered. we never made any genocide. are you blind? look what the jewish is doing toward palestine now. that is genocide.

  23. diego says:

    let’s invite tourists who are muslims

    Good idea. Focus on the saudi arabian market. However, before you invite those saudis to aceh, make sure you’ve prepared your girls / women / boys though some basic self defense skills because those saudis are sexual predators.

  24. diego says:

    in islam, we must not attack, but when we’re attacked, killed, we have to stand and fight back.

    I can’t recall when the balinese ever attacked those groups of abu bakar bashir (and similar islamist radicals).

  25. Oigal says:

    muslims are forbidden to do these:
    damage environment, cut down trees, hurt women and old men and children, hurt people who are in worship places (regardless the religion they believe in). and we have to forgive those who have surrendered. we never made any genocide. are you blind? look what the jewish is doing toward palestine now. that is genocide.</blockquote

    Am I blind??? Sorry, you mention Palestine and the Jews (of course) and yet you omit the thousands of Muslims being murdered, raped and tortured in the Sudan. There were 1000 times more Muslims tortured, detained and again raped and murdered in Iran (did you not see you the innocent woman gun down in the street?) Where were your eyes then? Did your eyes not see the acid thrown in girls face in the name of Sharia because she dared to go to school.

    Did you miss the slaughter of innocent Indonesians in Bali, Jakarta. These were not enemies of anyone just poor security guards, drivers and others just trying to make living and you have the nerve to see I am blind look at Palestine…Perhaps you should look closer to home and stop accepting every piece of nonsense you are told to believe.

    Sharia is of course man made, any Muslim scholar would tell you that Sharia is a man's interpretation (in defiance of what the Koran says to each his own) of what God wants. I have asked time and again where Sharia is written in specifics and yet again we get this hodge podge of sources but no actual specifics. Sharia is used in various places to justify, woman not being allowed out after dark, not allowed to drive or attend school, men must grow beards, music is banned etc etc. I agree many would say that is not Sharia, but that is the point Sharia is whatever the head loon wants it to be at the time.

    As for tourists, why should they trust, they see and hear what is happening in Aceh and that is enough. Sorry you don't get it, it is choice Aceh has made and there are consequences to every choice. Why would you expect anyone to support a regime of intimidation and oppression?

  26. Oigal says:

    we never made any genocide.

    Research the Sudan and get back to me..

  27. ET says:

    we never made any genocide. are you blind? look what the jewish is doing toward palestine now. that is genocide.

    Inong, no need to enter a historical debate with you and lose my time quoting hundreds of passages from Koran, Hadith and Sirat that prove – all in context – the real nature of your ‘religion’. You are obviously brainwashed and have been raised with a faith that has been edited out by imams to put it in a rosy halo in contrast to all others and to placate the feelings of common people who have no access to other sources than those approved by the MUI. Tell me, are there public libraries in Aceh where you can find books concerning Islam written in other languages or with scholarly backgrounds outside of those Islamic fiqh, tafsir and asbab al-nuzul that are considered politically and religiously correct by your ulamas? I doubt so, and it’s a pity because your English is excellent enough to read and understand comprehensive historical facts and interpretations without having to fall back on the pulp that’s readily available through your local mosques and organizations.

    I have read some of these Indonesian tafsir translations and, honestly, their hypocrisy and lies make me puke.

  28. nobody says:

    Palestine was in Muslim hand for more than 1000years. And yet there was still quite some jews there in 1800 (apparently sizeable enough for someone to justify giving them more than half the land). There are still Jews living happily in Iran today.
    Egypt, became a Muslim land about 1300years a go. But Christian copt is still 10%.

    I think these facts alone already disprove your “islam did genocide” claim.

  29. ET says:


    I think these facts alone already disprove your “islam did genocide” claim.

    I wasn’t referring specifically to the Israel/Palestine conflict but to follow your rationale and to put inong’s statement in perspective

    look what the jewish is doing toward palestine now. that is genocide.

    how many Palestinians are still coming daily to Israel for work, notwithstanding terrorist attacks, even on school buses?

    If you want other proof of genocide by muslims look further east into the Subcontinent.

  30. Oigal says:

    Not even a good try,
    I never used the term Genocide and I don’t see where ET did. What I pointed out was the myopic tunnel vision of some. Now you bring it up though, what do you call the slaughter of Muslims in the Sudan for instance?

    Palestine (we can talk about that later, Muslims slaughtering Muslims there as well in what is essentially a secular not religious dispute).

    Where is your outrage about your fellow Muslims rendered homeless in Surabaya by the mud brothers? Literally thousands more made homeless here than those in Palestine by the settlements. Or are you so blinded by what you are told to think you cannot see for yourself? So concerned with what Arabs tell you to think you ignore what is happening in your own backyard.

    Do you really think the your Arab friends give a hoot about Indonesia? They demonstrated their love for you with their pathetic assistance after the Tsunami and their daily rape and beatings of Indonesian helpers. Am I blind you ask..well some are no doubt, still it does not pay to have a slave that can think for itself.

    Just once instead of red herrings, why don’t you answer the questions posed. It might be interesting and provide you with some sorely needed credibility

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