Indonesia's Aceh to stone adulterers to death

The new law divided even provincial authorities and highlights the struggle between the country's moderate Muslim majority and a hard-line minority.

An Indonesian province has passed a law mandating that adulterers be stoned to death and homosexuals given lashes, fines, and prison terms. Those engaging in premarital sex get 100 lashes.

Aceh province's legislative council passed the law on Monday, over the objection of human rights groups and Aceh's own executive body. The law takes effect in 30 days, though observers say it may be reversed or toned down after a new, more moderate council takes up its posts in two weeks.

The tussle highlights the struggle between Indonesia's moderate Muslim majority and a more hard-line minority to define the practice of Islam within Indonesia's sprawling, multicultural democracy.

The Jakarta Post reported that Aceh's executive branch insisted it would not enforce such harsh punishments.

The Times Online noted that increasingly harsh laws have been passed in Aceh since the central government allowed it to adopt Islamic sharia law in 2001, "partly to appease hardliners in the province." Caning punishments were introduced in 2006 for women who do not wear headscarves.

The Associated Press reported the details of the new law, including the punishments for pedophilia and rape.

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