Malaysian Delegates Look to Aceh for Tips on Shariah Law

Banda Aceh. A 10-person delegation from Malaysia’s Terengganu sultanate is visiting Aceh to study how the province has implemented Shariah law.

The officials from Terengganu’s Council for Islam and Malay Culture met with Aceh Deputy Governor Muzakir Manaf on Friday, a day after arriving in Indonesia.

The visit was the first of its kind to Aceh and would last four days, the deputy governor said.

“The delegation also wanted to learn about the process of caning toward Islamic law violators in Aceh,” the Aceh provincial government said in a news release on Friday, adding that the visit was aimed in part at strengthening ties between Aceh and Malaysia.

Haji Mazlan Bin Hasyim, the head of the delegation, said he hoped Aceh could become a Southeast Asian mecca for Islamic education.

“In our opinion, only Aceh still adopts pure Islamic law,” he said.

During the meeting with Muzakir, the delegation chief asked how Aceh approached safeguarding Islamic values from being corrupted by cults.

Muzakir explained that because Aceh’s customary law was infused into every aspect of everyday life there, the process occurred naturally.

“The roles of village elders, village heads, respected figures and village officials are also functioning very well. They serve as filters for any new emerging cults,” Muzakir said.

Muzakir also explained that meunasah, or buildings that are used for religious activities, function as a place for the community to gather and hold discussions on both religious and community issues.

There were 3,773 mosques in Aceh, he added.

“The Aceh administration continues to improve the people of Aceh as well as improve their welfare,” Muzakir said.

The Aceh regional government is committed to preserving the infrastructure of mosques, meunasah and Islamic boarding schools. The latter are known locally as dayah.

Terengganu, located in peninsular Malaysia, was the first Malay state to receive Islam. From 1999 to 2004 it was ruled by an Islamist party.

Nurdin Hasan | July 14, 2012

Malaysian Delegates Look to Aceh for Tips on Shariah Law