A city in Indonesia’s Aceh province is banning all celebrations related to the New Year, saying Muslims do not commemorate the Gregorian calendar. The ban will be enforced on locals and tourists alike.
According to The Jakarta Post, the ban would be imposed in Sabang City on Weh Island in Aceh, which is the only region in the country that has syariah law.
The ban would be imposed on cafes, restaurants and hotels. The city has asked those businesses not to hold New Year celebrations as they would be at odds with its Islamic values.
The city administration had issued a letter signed by local leaders from the Regional Leadership Communication Forum enforcing the ban, said Sabang Mayor Nazaruddin.
The letter, issued to residents so that they would not violate syariah principles, contained five points detailing the banishing of the New Year’s celebrations.
Weh Island is a small active volcanic island to the north-west of Sumatra, 45 minutes by fast regular ship or 2 hours by ferry from mainland Banda Aceh.
Sabang City’s Mayor added that he expected tourists to obey the administration’s regulations and not violate the city’s values.
Mr Nazaruddin said the city would be happy if it was crowded with tourists. “But we expect incoming tourists to adapt to the customs and cultures of Sabang City, which upholds syariah,” he said.
Aceh is the only region in Indonesia, the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country, that imposes religious law. The province, once a war zone, is now famous for the flogging of citizens caught engaged in illicit sex.
On Dec 5, a 22-year-old man was sentenced to 100 strokes for having illicit sex with a woman. She was also sentenced to get 100 lashes.
The man fainted during the lashing with a rattan cane but was revived and given brief medical attention. The lashing continued after that.