Singapore: Swift move to douse tension after attack on female madrasah students
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Indonesian Sharia police punished five 19-years old students, including two girls, by lashing them 100 times outside a mosque in Aceh province capital Banda Aceh. The punishment was carried out in broad daylight and in full public view.

The students were punished in such a brutal manner after they allegedly confessed to having sex outside marriage, which according to the Sharia, is against Islam. The women were forced to kneel down in front of the public with their hand raised in air and were brutally canned by a masked man.

Sharia law, which is derived from the religious precepts of Islam, particularly the Quran and the Hadith, sees any kind of sexual relation between two Muslims outside marriage bond as unlawful and sinful.

Another woman who is in her thirties was also canned for being too close to a man who is not her husband. The woman pleaded and sobbed saying "It hurts so bad" but she was made to endure the full torture. However, the fate of a pregnant woman, whose partner was canned 22 times for having sexual relations outside marriage, remains undecided.

History of the laws

The strict Islamic laws in the country with the largest Muslim population have garnered heavy criticism from rights groups. Moreover, canning is also given as punishment in Aceh to not only for the above offence but also for gay sex, gambling and drinking alcohol.

Notably, the implementation of the harshest penal code under Islamic laws in the Aceh province has become more frequent in recent times.

According to UK's Express newspaper, two women were publicly caned in the same province last month after for being "too close" to their boyfriends. Valentine's Day celebrations have also been branded as an unlawful act under Sharia and the local government banned any kind of celebration.

Earlier this year, the local government banned Valentine's Day celebrations, including giving cards or chocolates, deeming it an 'unlawful act' under Sharia.

The law has also banned women from entertainment venues after 11pm unless they are accompanied by a husband or male family member. Women were also banned from entertainment venues after 11pm until and unless they are accompanied by a male member of the family.