Punks face off with Indonesia’s Shariah law

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Indonesia punk“They will outlaw listening to that genre of music, that dress, and those actions… punishing by fine or by jailing. They will incentivise more moderate citizens to believe that such appearance and behavior is immoral and should be condemned… thus further pushing more disenfranchised individualists into a secret, underground counterculture, which is not necessarily a progressive group but more of a protest group,” commented user singdawg on a forum in Reddit depicting numerous pictures of Indonesia police shaving the heads of countless youthful Indonesian punks.

Back in December of 2011, in an effort to promote rigorous Islamic moral values in Aceh, police in Indonesia seized the chains, earrings, dog-collar necklaces and various other punk fashion statements from 65 youths attending a punk rock concert in the area.

Perceived to threaten Islamic values, the procedure carried on as police officers used electric shavers to shave the various donned punk hairstyles, and later, throwing the youths in pools of water for spiritual cleansing. After their clothes were replaced, authorities gave the youths tooth brushes to use while escorting dozens in vans, bringing them to a police detention centre in the Seluawah Hills for rehabilitation where they would stay for at least 10 days and then be returned to their parents. None of the youth were charged with any crimes.

Aceh is the only province in Indonesia that strictly implements Shariah law, a law that bases its interpretations of governance off of the Qu’ran and includes topics of dress codes and hygiene and purification laws. Under Shariah law, women must wear headscarves; gay people can be thrown in jail or lashed in public with rattan canes; and married people convicted of adultery can be sentenced death by stoning.

Indonesia contains the largest demography of Muslims, a nation containing an estimated 205 million out of its 240 million population, more than the combined collective of both Egypt and Iran, and roughly 88 per cent of Indonesia’s population according to a 2010 Pew Forum demographic study.

Yet despite the entire backlash the sub-culture has received, punk still lives on. On 2 February 2013, Jakarta hosted a punk music festival called ASIAN PUNK FEST 2013, where some 39 bands played.

The festival was free, with no sponsors, and included bands from countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Japan.

Some pictures here.