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Indonesian governor orders prayers to stop adultery

All civil servants told to attend, in bid to stop marital cheating

An Indonesian governor said Wednesday he has ordered all civil servants in a central province to attend mass prayer sessions and religious sermons in a bid to stop adultery.

It was the latest attempt by Rusli Habibie to encourage government employees in Gorontalo province, which is mainly Muslim, to stay faithful.

He enacted a local law earlier this month requiring all government employees to pray together regularly and attend half-hour sermons each Friday in the hope it would discourage them from cheating on spouses.

“I have heard so many reports of married civil servants cheating. They have one girlfriend or boyfriend one day, and another the next. They are not allowed to do this,” Habibie said.

“Their behavior is destroying the image of the government,” he added, rejecting criticism that infidelity was a private matter.

In March last year Habibie gave instructions that male civil servants' salaries be paid into their wives' bank accounts to stop them spending cash on their mistresses, saying men with money were “unable to control themselves”.

In July he banned male employees from having female secretaries. He said the secretaries often became the men's mistresses and were given gifts of “perfume and branded bags” while their wives were neglected.

More than 90 percent of Indonesia's 250 million people are Muslim, with most practicing a moderate form of Islam. AFP

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