Indonesian Muslim cleric Mukhlis bin Muhammad received 28 strokes of the cane under religious laws he helped draft. The religious leader served on the Ulema Council, an advisory board that local authorities consult on their barbaric religious laws. Aceh province is the only province in Indonesia to use caning as a punishment.
Officials caught Mukhlis in a car with a married woman at a tourist beach in September. The woman also suffered punishment, receiving 23 strokes of the cane.
Despite Indonesia’s status as a majority Muslim country, only Aceh province practices Sharia law. A previous national government allowed the introduction of the laws to quell unrest in the province.
Local sharia law penalises homosexuality, pre-marital sex, gambling, as well as the consumption, production, and distribution of alcohol.
Human rights advocates condemn caning as a barbaric punishment that inflicts both physical pain and severe psychological harm. Most countries abandoned the punishment long ago.
Homosexuality in Aceh
While not celebrating the caning of this man, the stark contrast of his punishment with that of two gay men in 2017 is striking. The hypocrite who broke the laws he himself worked on received 28 lashes, while the gay men copped 83 each.
The province banned gay sex in 2014, despite it not being illegal in the rest of the country.
Mukhlis bin Muhammad
Mukhlis has the distinction of being the first cleric and the first member of the Ulema Council caned under his own laws.
Banda Aceh assistant major Bachtiar confirmed that Mukhlis sat on the council.
“The implementation of Islamic Sharia should be in all aspects of life, government, and community without exception.
“This is God’s law. Anyone must be flogged if proven guilty, even if he is a member of the MPU.”
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