It has become an end-of-year tradition for some conservatives in Indonesia to make headlines for their anti-Christmas and/or New Year’s Eve policies, such as the banning of Muslims from wearing Christmas fashion accessories and the threat of raids against those who do by certain hardline groups. This year, as one might expect, one such policy came from Banda Aceh, the capital city of the Aceh province — the only region with special autonomy to enact sharia-based laws in Indonesia.
As reported by Detik yesterday, the Banda Aceh city administration recently issued a circular announcing its ban of NYE celebrations in the capital, including parties, fireworks, and the blowing of horns in order to uphold Islamic sharia values and to “strengthen the unity and harmony of religious peoples and to uphold peace, safety and order”.
Speaking to reporters yesterday, Banda Aceh Mayor Aminullah Usman said the NYE party ban also applies to hotels in the capital, with violators potentially facing serious consequences.
“There, no exception, all hotels are prohibited from holding events of any kind to celebrate the new year. If any hotel is caught doing so, God willing we will revoke their [business] permit,” he said.
Aminullah added that the city administration was successful in banning NYE celebrations in the capital last year, but says that they will be even more vigilant in enforcing the policy this year.
One hotel manager told Detik that some guests complained that there was no NYE celebration at the hotel last year, but they accepted after being told it was a regional government policy.
“[Tourists] will eventually know that New Year’s Eve in Banda Aceh is like this,” he said.
Aceh officials have regularly introduced unique religious-based policies over the years, such as the recent banning of Wi-Fi at coffee shops in a village so kids don’t get distracted from reading the Quran and a regency prohibiting cafés from serving women after 9 pm or without male guardians.