This should come as no surprise. Since Sharia is believed to be the law of Allah, if the state is not imposing it, individual Muslims may believe themselves to be perfectly within their rights, and indeed, doing a positive good, if they enforce it themselves. “Sharia vigilante violence rife in Aceh: report,” by Sen Lam for Radio Australia, December 6:
Islamic sharia laws in Indonesia’s Aceh province have been used by vigilante groups to harass and intimidate locals, a Human Rights Watch report says.
The rights group has detailed evidence that the laws are often selectively enforced and rarely applied to wealthy or politically connected individuals.
Its report says sharia police sometimes force women and girls to get “virginity tests”.
Christen Broecker from Human Rights Watch says in one extreme case a woman was raped by sharia police while in detention….
Sharia police told Human Rights Watch they were trained in interpreting Islamic law.
“But they can be imposed by the regular police as well, and private individuals are encouraged by the law to help apprehend violators,” Ms Broecker said.
She says this has led to a situation where “vigilante violence is a major problem”.
“We think it’s encouraged by the laws and by the police failure to apprehend anyone who commits violence in imposing them,” she said.
Ms Broecker says virginity tests are a gender-specific form of torture under international law and a practice that both the sharia police and the provincial government in Aceh have defended.
She says women in Aceh can also be apprehended not just for failing to wear a veil but for wearing clothing sharia police consider tight….