Category Archives: Indonesia


BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (AP) — Shariah prosecutors in Indonesia’s Aceh province say two men on trial for gay sex should each be punished with 80 lashes, in another blow to the country’s moderate image after a top Christian official was imprisoned for blasphemy.

The lead prosecutor, Gulmaini, who goes by one name, said Wednesday the two men aged 20 and 23 had “confessed” to being in a gay relationship, which was supported by video footage and other evidence found in their rented room.

The men were led into the court handcuffed together and pulled their tops up to partially obscure their faces.

The couple was arrested in late March after neighborhood vigilantes in the provincial capital Banda Aceh suspected them of being gay and set out to catch them having sex. Mobile phone footage that circulated online and forms part of the evidence shows one of the men naked and visibly distressed as he apparently calls for help on his cellphone. The second man is repeatedly pushed by another man who is preventing the couple from leaving the room.

If found guilty, the men will be the first to be caned for gay sex under a new Shariah code implemented in Aceh two years ago. Aceh is the only province in Muslim-majority Indonesia to practice Shariah law, which was a concession made by the national government in 2006 to end a years-long war with separatists.

Indonesia’s reputation for practicing a moderate form of Islam has been battered in the past year due to attacks on religious minorities, a surge in persecution of gays and a polarizing election campaign for Jakarta governor that highlighted the growing strength of hard-line Islamic groups.

On Tuesday, the outgoing Jakarta governor, a minority Christian, was sentenced to two years prison for blaspheming the Quran.

In Aceh, the Shariah court’s panel of three judges will announce its verdict next week.

Gulmani told reporters that the men did not accept the court’s offer to appoint a defense lawyer. He declined to elaborate but guilty verdicts are certain in most cases that reach the Shariah court.

The Shariah code allows up to 100 lashes for morality offenses including gay sex. Caning is also a punishment for adultery, gambling, drinking alcohol, women who wear tight clothes and men who skip Friday prayers.

Human Rights Watch has called for authorities to immediately release the two men. “These men had their privacy invaded in a frightening and humiliating manner and now face public torture for the ‘crime’ of their alleged sexual orientation,” it said in a statement last month.

© 2017 The Associated Press.


Do gays getting caned in Indonesia suffer from Islamophobia?


A province in Indonesia that follows sharia law has passed a law saying that homosexuals can be spanked with a cane 100 times.  One hundred times!  Even certain groups that enjoy bondage whipping, not to mention pony play in San Francisco might be turned off by that.

Gay sex between Muslim men or women, both locals and foreigners, can now be punished with 100 strokes of the cane.

The law, passed in 2014 but only now being enforced, has faced opposition by rights groups.

The strictly Muslim province has become increasingly conservative in recent years and is the only one in Indonesia allowed to implement Sharia law.

It’s all part of sharia law.

Indonesia’s secular central government granted Aceh the right to implement Islamic Shariah law in 2006 as part of a peace deal to end a separatist war. A religious police and court system have been established and the new law is a significant strengthening of Shariah in the region.

People convicted of gambling and consuming alcohol already face caning, as do women who wear tight clothes and people who skip Friday Muslim prayers.

So I am wondering: since we are told that anyone who has concerns about Islam is an Islamophobe, do you think those homosexuals who are getting caned in Indonesia are also Islamophobes?  If they realized that their bias against Islam was causing their discomfort, do you think they could view their caning as a more pleasurable experience, like these people?

And what about the Muslims who are doing the caning?  Aren’t they also suffering from homophobia?  Do you think gays and Muslims could band together to form a support group to fight all forms of homophobia and Islamophobia – and, where there is overlap, Islamic homophobia? Perhaps this support group could be led by gay, lesbian, and gender-fluid imams.  Perhaps Muslims could be convinced to teach children in madrassas that two-daddy households are A-OK, and sometimes a daddy has a big beard, and sometimes daddy dresses in a burka, and that’s OK, too.  And perhaps gays can learn that a little spanking and whipping is part of what it means to be a gay Muslim, and they should view it less like a punishment and more like a lifestyle choice in San Francisco’s Castro district.

How do you think these two groups coming together would play out?

This article was written by Ed Straker, senior writer of, the conservative news site.

Indonesia: ISIS’s Next Front


By Sidney Jones

ISIS appears to be exerting a steadily growing pull in Indonesia, with its appeal now reaching beyond existing extremist groups. It’s successfully presenting itself as a new, dynamic Islamic state that applies Islamic law in full and in its purest form. More and more Indonesians are seeking to make the journey, not just to fight but also as a religious obligation. As the nature of ISIS support in Indonesia evolves, so does the nature of the threat it presents. Indonesia’s concerns have thus far been focused on the possible return of its fighters, but it also needs to look at support networks inside and outside Indonesia and the possible social impact.

In late 2013, Indonesians were drawn to Syria either because they equated the conflict there with the great battle at the end of time foretold by Islamic prophecies, or because they wanted to defend fellow Sunni Muslims from attacks by the Assad government. ISIS was only one of several militias they joined. By mid-2014, however, far more Indonesians were flocking to ISIS than to any other group. The al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra was a distant second, attracting followers from Jemaah Islamiyah and Majelis Mujahidin Indonesia but few others.

The ISIS supporters included members of various Darul Islam factions; a loose coalition known as the Mujahidin of Eastern Indonesia (Mujahidin Indonesia Timur, MIT) based in Poso, Central Sulawesi; and Abu Bakar Ba’asyir’s Jamaah Anshorut Tauhid (JAT), as well as disaffected jihadis from other groups looking for something more militant. Perhaps more importantly, they also included followers of detained cleric Aman Abdurrahman (real name: Oman Rochman), a salafi scholar who has provided the most influential religious rationale for ISIS support.

By early 2015, it became clear that the appeal of ISIS—as a victorious Islamic army and as an experiment in Islamic governance—was spreading, even as the Indonesian police were doing their best to disrupt sending networks. In March, several key organisers were arrested around Jakarta and Malang, East Java. The men involved had helped arrange travel, tickets and contacts on the Turkish-Syrian border. The travel was to Turkey, via Malaysia or the Gulf States. Jakarta-Qatar-Istanbul flights were popular, as were flights to Saudi Arabia with onward travel overland. The arrests of those men may have slowed departures among the groups that relied on them.

But one reason for assuming that the majority of the Indonesians in ISIS were from known radical groups was that the main sources of information were individuals with links to those groups—who knew their friends and families; had trained, fought, studied or been imprisoned with them; or stayed in touch with them through social media. But what if there was a critical mass of Indonesians in Syria without previous ties to violent extremists, whose social circles were completely separate, and who went through different sending networks? Not only would they be harder to identify in Syria, but their support networks inside Indonesia might be off police radars completely.

It was clear early on that some Indonesian students had left for Syria from Egypt, Turkey, Yemen and Pakistan. Several were from extremist families, but others had no such ties. Then there was the policeman from Jambi, recently killed in battle, who became attracted to ISIS on his own and then used social media networks to find contacts to help him arrive in Syria. Radical groups had reportedly rejected him as a possible spy, so he was forced to look elsewhere for logistical support—and found it. We’ve learned of networks among Indonesian migrant workers from East Asia to the Gulf who have offered assistance with alternative routes and transit accommodation.

This means that the numbers in Syria and Iraq are probably higher than we thought. The figure of 500 that the Indonesian government has been using since late 2014, based on poor data, may now be closer to the truth. Video footage recently posted on YouTube shows a large contingent of Indonesian–Malaysian fighters, and there’s growing evidence that it’s only one of several such groups.

The larger the presence in Syria, the larger the support base in Indonesia. Does this raise the risk of violence? Probably—but it’s important not to overdramatise it. There are several potential sources.

One is an ISIS structure established in Indonesia with the capacity to order acts of terrorism. Without control of territory, it’s difficult to see any advantages of a formal structure or how it would differ from existing would-be terrorist cells that quickly come to the attention of police.

A second would be an individual or group sent back to Indonesia—or elsewhere in Southeast Asia— with orders to carry out violence in ISIS’s name. The only motivation would be to demonstrate the organisation’s reach. It’s hard to believe it would be a priority for ISIS now, but things could change.

A third would be an attack carried out by one of several competing factions among Indonesian fighters in Syria. Reports of bitter infighting among Indonesian commanders have surfaced in the last few weeks, and this could have consequences back home—but without the leadership of the commanders themselves, there’s little reason to believe their supporters in Indonesia have the skills to pull off a major attack. The same lack of skills would restrict the ability of anyone else in Indonesia without overseas training who wanted to use violence to prove himself to the ISIS command.

The fourth, which is where the majority of concern has been focused to date, would be from Indonesian fighters forced by circumstance to return to Indonesia at some point in the future when the conflict wanes. A combination then of combat experience, ideological commitment and alienation at home could be deadly.

But if the appeal of ISIS is spreading because of its ‘pure’ application of Islamic law, perhaps we should begin to think of other kinds of risks as well. These include pockets of extreme intolerance, increased funding for pro-shariah activism, and higher exposure to extremist teachings in Indonesian migrant communities abroad.

Indonesia has shown some ability to deal with extremist violence but confronting the ideology that justifies it has proved much more difficult.

This article originally appeared at The Strategist.