Source: USA Today
By Patrick Winn, GlobalPost
For her crime, violating the tenets of a faith she does not observe, the courts offered two punishments.
Option one: time in a grim jailhouse. Option two: nearly 30 lashes with a cane wielded by a anonymous man, hooded and clad in black robes, as her neighbors watched.
She chose the latter.
Such was the fate of Remita Sinaga, 60, a rare Christian living in Aceh, one of the most stridently Islamic corners of Asia. Her crime: selling bottles of booze on the sly, an illicit act under Aceh’s increasingly hardline enforcement of Sharia, or Islamic law.
Much of Indonesia embraces a version of Islam far more forgiving than the severe strain practiced in hyper-orthodox Persian Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia. In much of the tropical archipelago, beer, rock music and dating is permitted.
But not Aceh, among the the first Southeast Asian regions to receive seafaring Islamic traders in the 13th century. Its people have held fast to the faith ever since. Today, it is the only province in the country that punishes gay sex, boozing and even out-of-wedlock make-out sessions with lashes dealt by a rattan cane.