Aceh region bans unmarried couples at same table in cafes

Source: Associated Press

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (AP) — A district in Indonesia’s deeply conservative Aceh province has banned unmarried couples from sitting at the same table in restaurants, cafes or coffee shops, an official said Wednesday.

The head of Bireuen district’s Islamic affairs office, Jufliwan, said the measure also forbids restaurants, cafes and coffee shops from serving female customers after 9 p.m. if they are not accompanied by their husbands, fathers, brothers, or other close relatives.

Aceh is the only province in Muslim-majority Indonesia that practices Islamic Shariah law, a concession made by the central government in 2001 as part of efforts to end a decades-long war for independence.

“Unmarried males and females who are not close relatives should not eat and drink at the same table, because it is sinful according to Shariah law,” said Jufliwan, who uses a single name.

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