Tuesday, January 08, 2013

New Law Says Women Must Ride Side-Saddle in Indonesia's Aceh Province

Motoring Staff
January 7, 2013.

Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim country but, until recently, it was home to a liberal form of Islam that suited the Indonesians' laid-back, easy-going lifestyle and flourished under one of South-East Asia's most successful democratic governments.

Like most South-East Asian countries, it's also home to hundreds of thousands of mopeds and light motorcycles, which are used to move anything from kitchen units to entire families.

In 2001, however, the more militant northern province of Aceh asked for, and was granted, an increased measure of autonomy. Since then the provincial government has begun instituting sharia law, including the stoning of adulterers, flogging homosexuals and a ban on women wearing tight trousers.

Now the local government of Lhokseumawe, at the northern tip of the island of Sumatra, has passed a regulation prohibiting women pillions on motorcycles from sitting astride behind a male rider, describing the position as "improper".

Mayor Suaidi Yahya said that under the new law, women would have to sit 'side-saddle' with their legs dangling off to one side.

"We implement Islamic law here."

"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."

"When you see a woman straddle, she looks like a man. But if she sits side-saddle, she looks like a woman," Suaidi said.

Now, apart from the danger that such an unbalanced weight distribution presents to both rider and pillion, there is also the question of the thousands of Acehnese women who ride their own motorcycles, since they need both feet on the footpegs to control their bikes.

Here, apparently, sanity has prevailed in the case of women riders, however, who will still be allowed to ride astride, provided thety are dressed "in a Muslim way", Yahya said.

"Once it has become a by-law, automatically there will be sanctions if it is not obeyed."

Not all Indonesian Muslims agree, however. Activist Ulil Abshar Abdalla said: "How to ride a motorbike is not regulated in Sharia. There is no mention of it in the Koran.

"In a democratic country, what is claimed to be Sharia must be assessed by the public's common sense.

Comment: Articles like this draw hits.  It flaunts as news the too often misguided Islamophobic generalization that Muslims are loonies by just about any measure.

If your read the comments attached to this article you will find folks who are too quick to describe Islam and all Muslims in the worn terms that characterize this historical moment of anti-Islam bigotry in the West.

That said it is still necessary to point out that there is absolutely no injunction in Islam that prescribes how any woman should sit on a motorcycle whether as a rider or as a pillion.

For those who would want to look for Sharia that pertains to women riding side-saddle on a horse in the time of the Prophet (pbuh) save yourself some precious life moments - there is none.

This law is patriarchal idiocy at best and nothing about it speaks to the dignity of women.  What it speaks to is a contrived tendency among too many Muslim men to reduce women to sexualized objects.

Riding side-saddle is dangerous.  I witnessed a woman riding side-saddle in India fall off the bike when she could not keep her balance clutching onto the male rider.

She was badly hurt but her injuries would have been worse - even fatal - if a car(s) had run over her too.

Should the law not be about protecting the safety of all riders.  Stuff like helmets and eye protection and shoes that cover ankles at the very least should be matters of concern, no?

This made-up sh*t ain't Islam.  It is male buffoonery and sexism gone mad among a sector of Muslim men/patriarchs.

On a side note - since this is a bike related post - I bid farewell to my boy Tony tonight.  He will be making his way to Joburg tomorrow and then onto Melbourne where the Australian Open is about to start in plus 40 degrees heat 

I guess at the very least he won't have the dust, dirt and dysfunction of the diamond delusion in Melbourne.

I am sad to see the brother go and will miss our long talks about bikes and more bikes.  We been boys since primary (elementary) school.  And it is still so.

Tony has a new Kawasaki ZX10 waiting for him in Melbourne.  This is the green beaut he bought just before leaving to visit with us here in diamond delusion - that is Kimberley (officially referred to as the "Diamond City") for you slow pokes ;0)

Sweet bike huh?  And if you know your bikes you know Tony has already put on a performance after market pipe (the pipe in the picture is the original). 

If you thinking midlife crisis you wrong.  Tony has been riding since he was just out of nappies (diapers) - and it wasn't a pretty sight so we made him put pants on.

The perennial midlife crisis bra is yours truly - still bloggin' at 48 when I should be riding.  Geez.

Happy New Year nonetheless ;0)


PS. Note to Tony: Is side-saddle even possible on this bike broer?  Oh and I hope you don't mind me posting a picture of your bike without your copyright permission. :0)

No comments: