The Punishment of Islamic Sex Crimes in a Modern Legal System: The Islamic Qanun of Aceh, Indonesia

36 Pages Posted: 19 Apr 2016

Date Written: April 17, 2016


This paper looks at the enactment and enforcement of recent criminal legislation involving sexual morality in the Indonesian province of Aceh. Public discussions of Islamic law relating to crimes focus almost exclusively on the question whether Islamic criminal law shall be enforced and give little if any attention to the question what Islamic criminal law is. This focus on whether rather than what reflects widely assumptions about the nature of Islamic law. Little attention is given to questions about the content or procedures of Islamic criminal law because it is assumed that the law is a fixed and definite essence, and that programs for the implementation of Islamic criminal law simply activate the machinery for the enforcement of the law. An examination of Islamic criminal law in Aceh makes clear that these assumptions are mistaken. The laws enacted in Aceh reflect the influence of a variety of contemporary and historical factors. The laws manifest an evident concern with preserving continuity with the historical tradition of Islamic law. But the legislation also shows the imprint of contemporary influences. The drafters were clearly sensitive to the conditions and concerns of contemporary Aceh and the relevance of modern ideas and institutions to Acehnese society.

Keywords: Islamic law, criminal law, Indonesia

Suggested Citation

Cammack, Mark, The Punishment of Islamic Sex Crimes in a Modern Legal System: The Islamic Qanun of Aceh, Indonesia (April 17, 2016). Southwestern Law School Research Paper No. 2016-2, Available at SSRN: or

Mark Cammack (Contact Author)

Southwestern Law School ( email )

3050 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90010
United States

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