The God Discussion reported on 2 January 2013 about the city of Lhokseumawe, situated in Aceh, effecting a ban on a woman to straddling male motorbike operators. Mayor Suaidi Yahya said it was improper. The ban is the latest in a long line of restrictions placed on women in the sharia law-controlled Islamic stronghold. The motorbike law only allows women who ride to sit 'side-saddle,' with legs hanging off to one side.
Now, women's rights groups are protesting the ban and have condemned Mayor Suaidi Yahya's comment that,
“Women sitting on motorbikes must not sit astride because it will provoke the male driver. It’s also to protect women from an undesirable condition. It’s improper for women to sit astride. We implement Islamic law here.”
Other bans include prohibiting men and women from hugging and holding hands while on vehicles, as well as various bans on attire, stoning adulterers and whipping homosexuals.
A report filed by The Raw Story quotes Roslina Rasyid, representing the Indonesian Women's Association for Justice, stating the obvious safety concerns,
“Sitting astride guarantees better safety, and I’m sure most people can only side-saddle for 15 minutes. What if the person is overweight and causes an imbalance? It could cause an accident.”
The report also quotes Andy Yentriyani, of the National Commission on Violence Against Women as stating the policy is discriminatory toward women. He cited the country's strict laws that pertain to religion and morality.
For more details, read the story, here.