Indonesians protest over text message divorce

indonesian text message divorceHundreds of Indonesians gathered to call for the resignation of a district chief after he divorced his teenage wife of four days by text message.

Aceng Fikri, 40 year old chief of the Garut region in West Java, married Fani Oktora, 17, in July. Miss Oktora was his second wife but only four days into their marriage Fikri divorced her via SMS message, claiming that she was not a virgin as he had expected.

Mr Fikri enacted an Islamic talaq divorce, in which a man can carry out the divorce by pronouncing the talaq (formula of repudiation) to his wife three times. After the third time the divorce is irrevocable.

There are varying views of the formalities required to complete a talaq divorce, such as whether a certain amount of time must elapse between talaqs. Some Muslims claim there must be mediation and that witnesses must be present. Divorce by text message alone is uncommon.

When the news broke of Fikri’s actions, Indonesian students and right activists gathered outside a local council building to protest. They trampled and spat on pictures of Mr Fikri and called for him to resign.


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