WHEN people [and governments] around the world sent millions to help the stricken Indonesian province of Aceh after the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004, few could have imagined that their money would end up subsidising the lashing of women in public.
But militant Islamists have since imposed sharia law in Aceh and have cornered Indonesian government funds to organise a moral vigilante force that harasses women and stages frequent displays of humiliation and state-sanctioned violence.
Audiences throughout the Indonesian archipelago watched the televised flogging of a man convicted of drinking beer. He collapsed after seven of the 40 prescribed strokes and officials said he would receive the remaining 33 when he recovered.
Some say there are more “sharia police” than regular police on the local government payroll
The flow of foreign cash for reconstruction has allowed the government to spend scarce money on a new bureaucracy and religious police to enforce sharia laws, such as the compulsory wearing of headscarves.
This post could have as well been titled "The Road to Hell II".