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Tight pants ban takes effect in Indonesia's Aceh
Acehnese sharia police officers stop women motorcyclists wearing pants at a 
check point in Pasi Jambu, West Aceh, Indonesia. (AP)


Published: May 27, 2010 17:53 Updated: May 27, 2010 17:54 

MEULABOH, Indonesia: Authorities in a devoutly Islamic district of Indonesia's 
Aceh province have distributed 20,000 long skirts and prohibited shops from 
selling tight dresses as a regulation banning Muslim women from wearing 
revealing clothing took effect Thursday.

The long skirts are to be given to Muslim women caught violating the dress code 
during a two-month campaign to enforce the regulation, said Ramli Mansur, head 
of West Aceh district.

Islamic police will determine whether a woman's clothing violates the dress 
code, he said.

During raids Thursday, Islamic police caught 18 women traveling on motorbikes 
who were wearing traditional headscarves but were also dressed in jeans. Each 
woman was given a long skirt and her pants were confiscated. They were released 
from police custody after giving their identities and receiving advice from 
Islamic preachers.

"I am not wearing sexy outfits, but they caught me like a terrorist only 
because of my jeans," said Imma, a 40-year-old housewife who uses only one 
name. She argued that wearing jeans is more comfortable when she travels by 

Motorbikes are commonly used by both men and women in Indonesia.

"The rule applies only to Muslim residents in West Aceh," Mansur told The 
Associated Press. "We don't enforce it for non-Muslims, but are asking them to 
respect us." He said any shopkeepers caught violating restrictions on selling 
short skirts and jeans would face a revocation of their business licenses.

No merchants have been seen displaying jeans or tight clothing in stores in 
West Aceh district in recent weeks.

The regulation is the latest effort to promote strict moral values in the 
world's most populous Muslim-majority nation, where most of the roughly 200 
million Muslims practice a moderate form of the faith.

It does not set out a specific punishment for violators, but says "moral 
sanctions" will be imposed by local leaders.

Mansur said women caught violating the ban more than three times could face two 
weeks in detention.

Rights groups say the regulation violates international treaties and the 
Indonesian constitution.

Aceh, a semiautonomous region, made news last year when its provincial 
parliament passed an Islamic, or Shariah, law making adultery punishable by 
stoning to death. It also has imposed prison sentences and public lashings for 
homosexuals and pedophiles.

Islamic law is not enforced across the vast island nation.

But bans on drinking alcohol, gambling and kissing in public, among other 
activities, have been enforced by some more conservative local governments in 
recent years.

Opinion polls show that a majority of Indonesians oppose the restrictions on 
dress and behavior, which are being pushed by hard-liners in the secular 

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