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Thursday, 3 January 2013
Islamic province bans women pillion passengers from straddling motorbikes to protect their 'morals' in Indonesia

A city in an Indonesian province which follows Sharia law is to ban women from straddling on motorbikes behind male drivers. Leaflets have been sent to residents and government offices in the city of Lhokseumawe to inform them about the new rules.

The mayor of the city, Suaidi Yahya, said the change in law is to save people's 'morals and behaviours'.

According to Mr Yahya, women will only be allowed to sit side saddle. He claimed that when women straddle the bike seat it violates Islamic values. Speaking to the BBC  he said: 'When you see a woman straddle, she looks like a man. But if she sits side-saddle, she looks like a woman.'

Mr Yahya admitted that if women do not follow the rule, they could face punishment. 'Once it has become a by-law, automatically there will be sanctions,' he said.

A number of Muslim activists have criticised the regulation.  Ulil Abshar Abdalla, based in Jakarta, said: 'How to ride a motorbike is not regulated in Sharia. There is no mention of it in the Koran or Hadiths.'

I have seen women riding pillion in two places. First in the 1960’s on holiday in Spain, near Barcelona. The local girls sat sideways on the back of their boyfriend’s motorbikes. An English girl in our hotel got a date with the hotel’s waiter and set off on his machine riding pillion astride. The next morning she described the date to my father and me.  The waiter was a gentleman but they were stopped by the police several times regarding her legs across the pillion. Every time, once the police realised that she was English (the ginger hair should have been a clue?) they were allowed to proceed as they were.

And 20 years later I was in a taxi in Cairo. A family on a small Czech-made Jawa overtook us. I had never seen Jawas on the road before that trip; in the UK they were a specialist Speedway racer. Dad was piloting the bike, a small boy sat in front of him astride the petrol tank, Mum in a long skirt and scarf (not a niqab – I don’t recall seeing one in Cairo in 1987) sat side-saddle behind them holding a baby in her lap. On the way to the airport they overtook my taxi three times, which is how I was able to see them so clearly.

Having spent a week the previous month at the Isle of Man TT in a leather jacket, stout trousers, boots and helmet I was flabbergasted at how dangerous it looked.

Posted on 01/03/2013 8:47 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
3 Jan 2013
Send an emailSue R

It's the same logic that dictates that Muslim girls can't ride bicycles.  I'm no expert but I assume it comes under the general heading of 'Koranic Injunctions to Modesty'.  I alwayss thought it was about protecting the hyman.

3 Jan 2013
Send an emailreactionry

Indonesia: Riding In The Gear Of Living Dangerously

Updating a tee-shirt oldie for Muslim bikers: IF YOU CAN READ THIS, ONE OF MY WIVES FELL OFF
Tags: "Mad Max," A "good" Mel Gibson girl hates Disraeli Gears

3 Jan 2013
Send an emailreactionry

Indonesia: Riding In The Gear Of Living Dangerously

Updating a tee-shirt oldie for Muslim bikers: IF YOU CAN READ THIS, ONE OF MY WIVES FELL OFF
Tags: "Mad Max," A "good" Mel Gibson girl hates Disraeli Gears

Guns, Germs and Steel in Tanzania
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