Two Christians whipped in public under Shariah laws in Aceh

Two Indonesian Christians were publicly whipped for gambling in the province of Aceh, said the Wall Street Journal yesterday.

It said this was a rare case of non-Muslims being punished under Islamic law.

It also said this was indication Indonesia is shifting toward a more politicized brand of the religion associated with the Middle East.

The man and woman are residents of Aceh a province that has imposed strict Shariah law.

They were whipped at least six times each on Tuesday by a robed man wearing a mask and wielding a rattan cane.

Hundreds of onlookers jeered them as the punishment was carried out on a stage next to a mosque in the provincial capital, Banda Aceh.

Indonesia has laws protecting the rights of Christians and other groups, but in Aceh, no one escapes the Shariah.

Aceh is able to implement Shariah law since it is under a measure of autonomy that helped settle a separatist conflict in the country.

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