Indonesia: FGM/C Regulations Mistaken As Endorsement, Experts Fear

Publication Date: 
September 1, 2011
About 12% of baby girls born in Indonesian hospitals, birthing centres or assisted by midwives have undergone FGM/C. Photo: IRIN

WEST JAVA, 1 September 2011 (IRIN) - Guidelines on how to perform female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) issued by the Indonesian Ministry of Health could cause an increase in the practice, medical experts and rights groups fear.

"This will give doctors a new motivation to circumcise [girls] because now they can say the Ministry of Health approves of this, and the Indonesian Ulamas' Council approves of it," Jurnalis Uddin, doctor and lecturer at Yarsi University [ ] in Jakarta, told IRIN.

Though FGM/C was banned in 2006, two of Indonesia's Muslim organizations, including the largest and mostly moderate Nahdlatul Ulama, ultimately condone the practice advising "not to cut too much", and, as a result, many continue to perform the procedure. []

Indonesia: Sharia police in Aceh dissolve lesbian marriage

Publication Date: 
August 25, 2011
Aceh is the only province in Indonesia to apply Sharia law. (Photo: BBC

Islamic police in the Indonesian province of Aceh have forced two women to have their marriage annulled and sign an agreement to separate.

The women had been legally married for a few months after one of them passed as a man in front of an Islamic cleric who presided over their wedding.

But suspicious neighbours confronted the couple and reported them to police.

Outrage as 'Obedient Wives Club' spreads across south-east Asia

Publication Date: 
July 6, 2011
The Guardian
Malaysian Muslim Ishak Md Nor and his two wives, Aishah Abdul Ghafar, left, and Afiratul Abidah Mohd Hanan, members of the 'OWC'

A women's group that aims to teach Muslim wives how to "keep their spouses happy in the bedroom" is taking root in south-east Asia, prompting outrage from Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

The Obedient Wives Club (OWC), which has chapters in Malaysia, Indonesia and and intends to open in London and Paris later this year, says it intends to curb various social problems, including prostitution and gambling, by showing Muslim wives how to "be submissive and keep their spouses happy in the bedroom". This, in turn, would lead to more harmonious marriages and societies, it says.

Indonesia: Using religion to strengthen gender equality

Publication Date: 
May 12, 2009
Susilahati (second from right) with some of the writers at the launch in Jakarta Credit:Muhammadiya

DENPASAR, Indonesia, May 12, 2009 (IPS) - ‘My husband rapes me repeatedly. I asked the ulama (religious leader) for help, but he sided with him, saying that according to Islam, a woman has to obey her husband. I have nowhere else to go. I have no tears left to shed. I no longer scream.’

It was while recording stories like this that staff at Indonesia’s National Commission on Violence against Women (Komnas Perempuan), a branch of the country’s Human Rights Commission, decided in 2007 that they needed to focus on religious leaders if they wanted to protect women.

That insight led to intense brainstorming, studies and analysis, which with time has morphed into three books written by female scholars and religious leaders representing Islam, Catholicism and Protestantism.

Indonesia: Government regulation on female circumcision must be repealed

VNC is supporting the demand by Indonesian women's groups that the Indonesian government repeal the recent regulation issued by the Ministry of Health which allows female genital circumcision to be carried out by medical professionals. 

Indonesia: Government must repeal caning bylaws in Aceh

Publication Date: 
May 22, 2011
Amnesty International
Amnesty International

The Indonesian government must end the use of caning as a form of punishment and repeal the laws that allow it in Aceh province, Amnesty International said today after at least 21 people were publicly caned since 12 May.

In Langsa city, 14 men were caned outside the Darul Falah mosque on 19 May, following the caning of seven men a week earlier.

All 21 were found to have violated an Aceh bylaw (qanun) prohibiting gambling and were given six lashes each as hundreds of people looked on.

Increasing Access to Justice for Women, the Poor, and Those Living in Remote Areas: An Indonesian Case Study

Publication Date: 
March, 2011
Indonesia: Increasing Access to Justice for Women, the Poor, and Those Living in Remote Areas

"In 2010 the Indonesian Bureau of Statistics estimated that there are 65 million  households in Indonesia, and almost 10 million of these - 14% - are headed by women.....Obtaining new identity or family cards that show a woman is the head of her household, requires the formalization of marriages and the issuance of legal divorce certificates.

Research conducted by PEKKA (an Indonesian civil society organization supporting women-headed households) has shown that over 50% of the marriages and 86% of the divorces of its members are not legally registered, as they are not brought before the Indonesian courts. It is for this reason that access to the religious courts for the poor, particularly for women, is critical to their ability to access broader public services."

Indonesia: Activists Criticize Clerics Over Dress Code

Publication Date: 
February 10, 2011
The Jakarta Post

The Network for Civil Society Concerned with Sharia (JMSPS) in Aceh has criticized clerics and asked them not to overly interfere in enforcing the Muslim dress code, especially for Muslim women in the province. 

“Aceh clerics should not stunt their important position by dealing with trivial matters related to the daily lives of Aceh residents,” said Hendra Fadli from the Aceh Legal Aid Institute (LBH).

The Aceh LBH is one of 15 NGOs affiliated with the JMSPS in Aceh.

Indonesia: Clerics ban Valentine's Day

Publication Date: 
February 10, 2011
The Jakarta Globe

The Indonesia Council of Ulema has made its annual — and regularly ignored — call for Muslims to avoid celebrating Saint Valentine’s Day on Monday.

Roza’i Akbar, head of the Dumai, Riau, branch of the council, also known as MUI, said Valentine’s Day — an annual celebration of love — was a Western occasion and not permitted (haram) under Islam.

Roza’i said the celebration was inappropriate as it was identified with pre-marital relationships among teenagers.

Indonesia: Sisters in Islam (SIS) denounces controversial plans to “check” sinful activities of youth

Publication Date: 
February 10, 2011
The Star Online

PETALING JAYA: Sisters in Islam (SIS) has hit out at PAS Youth over its controversial plans to “check” sinful activities and play the moral police on Valentine’s Day.

Its media and communications senior programme officer, Yasmin Masidi, said moral policing was against Islamic values and fundamental liberties.

She added: “It violates personal dignity and privacy, which is for­bidden in the Quran and Hadith.”