Indonesia's North Aceh separates sexes in schools, similar ban for motorbikes to follow

Boys being cared for at the Fajar Hidayah’s shelter in Banda Aceh. An Indonesian regency has passed legislation requiring schools to teach boys and girls separately and hopes to follow that up with a ban prohibiting the two sexes from riding motorc
Boys being cared for at the Fajar Hidayah’s shelter in Banda Aceh. An Indonesian regency has passed legislation requiring schools to teach boys and girls separately and hopes to follow that up with a ban prohibiting the two sexes from riding motorcycles together. -- PHOTO: SIF

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (Reuters) - An Indonesian regency has passed legislation requiring schools to teach boys and girls separately and hopes to follow that up with a ban prohibiting the two sexes from riding motorcycles together.

Aceh, the only province that abides by Islamic syariah law in the Muslim-dominated nation, has over the years passed a series of strict faith-based regulations that has put it at odds with the rest of the country.

North Aceh last week approved the legislation, which also requires the Quran be read every night, and submitted it to the provincial government for approval. "What we do now will be just like what happens currently in traditional Islamic boarding schools," said Mr Fauzan Hamzah, a member of the regency's legislature. "I hope this policy won't only be implemented in the North Aceh regency but in the entire province."

Lawmakers would next begin discussing legislation banning men and women from riding motorcycles together, Mr Hamzah said. "I believe there won't be any obstacles (to this proposed law) because the majority of people support it," he said.

Lawmakers in 2013 banned women from sitting on motorcycles except side-saddle, but the regulation has rarely been enforced.

The province also passed an anti-homosexuality law in October that punishes anyone caught having gay sex with 100 lashes.

Indonesia agreed to allow Aceh to use Islamic syariah law as its legal code as part of a 2005 peace agreement that ended a three-decade-old separatist movement.