Indonesia, officially the Republic of Indonesia (Indonesian: Republik Indonesia), is a country in Southeast Asia made up of 33 provinces spread out over an archipelago comprising approximately 17,508 islands. Its population is 238 million, making it the fourth most populous country in the world. Its capital and largest city is Jakarta. Indonesia is now governed by a presidential republic with the President serving as the head of state and the head of government. It has the 16th largest economy in the world and has strong influence within Southeast Asia. It is the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation.
The Indonesian archipelago has been an important trade region since at least the 7th century. Indonesia's history has been strongly influenced by foreign cultures since the early centuries AD - Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms flourished before traders introduced Islam, which saw the rise of various sultanates in the region. Indonesia was colonized by the Dutch from around the 17-18th centuries to the mid 20th century, and was occupied by the Japanese from 1942 to 1945 during World War II. After the war, Indonesia declared independence from the Dutch and secured its Independence by late 1949. Indonesia's history has since been turbulent, with challenges posed by natural disasters, corruption, separatism, a democratization process, poverty, and periods of rapid economic change.
It is noteworthy that the Indonesian and Malay languages are similar but there are significant differences. Indonesian is the predominant language in Indonesia. Malay is not commonly used in Indonesia, but it is an official language in Indonesia's neighboring countries Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore.
Spanking in IndonesiaEdit
Official judicial corporal punishment in Indonesia exists only in Aceh Province, where the local government has introduced it as a concession to the strongly conservative Islamic population in the area. Even though Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world, most Muslims in the country generally follow a much more moderate form of Islam, but Aceh is one major exception.
Islamic law (Sharia, also spelled Syariah) was introduced in Aceh in 2002, and proposals for caning errant Muslims first emerged in September that year. The first reported canings took place in June 2005. This form of punishment is applicable to only Muslims and may be administered to both men and women. Offenses punishable by caning include, among others, consumption of alcohol, and inappropriate behavior with the opposite sex.
The offender is usually punished in public (outside a mosque) and receives strokes from a rattan cane on his/her upper back over clothing. Men stand when they receive the punishment while women are seated. This form of caning is much less severe in its effects as compared to the judicial canings applied to male criminals in Indonesia's neighboring countries - Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei. The caning is meant to humiliate the offender rather than to inflict pain.
Sharia caning is also practiced in Malaysia but is not as common as in Aceh.
School corporal punishment is not unlawful in Indonesia but there seems little evidence of its use in a formal or official manner in ordinary day schools. However, a video clip exists of a formal flogging at a traditional Islamic boarding school or "pesantren".
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