Aceh in Indonesia where Sharia law in enforced. Photo by iStock.

A law prohibiting unmarried women from dining with men has been passed in the Bireuen district in northern Aceh province in Indonesia.

The new law bans women in Bireuen district from sharing a table with men at restaurants and coffee shops unless they are accompanied by their husband or a close male relative, Jufliwan, the head of the local Sharia agency, told AFP.

He added that the law was aimed at helping women be “more well behaved.” Jufliwan said the objective was to safeguard the dignity of women, as well as making them feel more at ease and less inclined to violate Sharia law.

The district head also signed another section of legislation instructing that single women or those not accompanied by their family to not be served after 9pm in eateries, although it was up to the owners of restaurants to enforce the law. Offenders would not be punished.

Aceh is now the only province in Indonesia to exercise Sharia law. In 2015, the province passed a law which prohibited women being in leisure establishments such as cafes and sports centers after 11pm.

Asia Times Financial is now live. Linking accurate news, insightful analysis and local knowledge with the ATF China Bond 50 Index, the world's first benchmark cross sector Chinese Bond Indices. Read ATF now.