Banda Aceh

Banda Aceh

Consider if you want to visit

Banda Aceh is the northernmost capital in the northernmost province in Indonesia. Tragically, it gained worldwide recognition on December 26, 2004 when a massive earthquake rocked the city and surrounds, and a subsequent tsunami claimed the lives of more than 60,000 people in the city and more than 170,000 in the province.

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Prior to 2004, the province of Aceh was off-limits to visitors without prior government approval due to an armed insurgency battling the Indonesian military in order to gain greater autonomy for the region. After the tsunami, both sides laid down their arms and the Indonesian government gave Aceh its long sought after autonomy, which led to the government of Aceh introducing a modified form of Sharia law.

While in the past it would have been accurate to describe Sharia law in Aceh as Sharia light, this is sadly no longer the case. Public canings have occurred, including two men being caned over 70 times for “gay sex” in May 2017. Homosexuality is legal in Indonesia but Sharia Law takes precedence in Aceh, where Sharia law empowers local vigilantes to publicly identify and detail anyone perceived as violating the rules.

The mayor of Aceh, Illiza Sa’aduddin Djamal is on record as saying she "I want to save our next generation". “Imagine what it would be like if the whole world started liking the same gender.” “We don’t hate them as people, what we hate is what they do.“ Astounding ignorance.

Foreigners and non-Muslims are likewise (at least in theory) subject to these laws and so because of this we advice LGBT travellers to consider carefully before deciding to visit the province of Aceh. For that matter, any traveller who finds the above to be reprehensible should consider if they still ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 400 words.)

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