// Qur'an Test for Aceh Candidates
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« on: Sep 05, 2008 10:43 AM »


Qur'an Test for Aceh Candidates

9/4/08

IslamOnline.net & News Agencies

BANDA ACEH — Officials in Indonesia's Aceh province have confirmed plans to test election candidates for their knowledge of the Noble Qur'an.

"We will implement the local ordinance on political parties requiring all legislative candidates to take the Qur'an proficiency test," Aceh Electoral Commission chief Salam Paroh was quoted as saying by Agence France-Presse (AFP).

The test will gauge the candidates' ability to recite verses of the Muslim Holy Book.

They will also be tested about their knowledge of Islamic rituals.

Only those who pass the test will be able to contest Aceh's provincial elections next April.

The election commission has already prepared ten teams to test the 1,368 candidates contesting the April vote.

Aceh is gradually implementing Shari`ah under a broad autonomy package granted by the central government in 2001 to pacify demands for independence.

It also has a religious police force whose task is overseeing Islamic regulations on dress, alcohol, gambling and immoral acts.

Debate

The Qur'an test requirement has sparked a heated debate.

"We have a right not to perform the test," said Sayed Fuad Zakaria, a member of the secular and national Golkar party.

"The commission cannot ban us from contesting the election just because we haven't sat the Qur'an test."

National Home Affairs Minister Mardiyanto has reportedly asked the provincial authorities to exempt candidates from the more secular national parties.

But an official with the local Aceh People's Party said the Qur'an test must be applied across the board.

"We do hope that the Aceh electoral commission will be fair by requiring all candidates from both local and national parties to perform the Qur'an proficiency test," said Thamrin Ananda.

"Justice must be done."

The Almighty Allah says,

"When a servant thinks of Me, I am near.
When he invokes Me, I am with him.
If he reflects on Me in secret, I reply in secret,
And if he acknowledges Me in an assembly,
I acknowledge him in a far superior assembly."

- Prophet Muhammad (SAW), as reptd by Abu Huraira
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