Category Archives: Indonesia

Muslim Cleric Says “Selfies” Are a Sin

hijab16f-6-web-550x366 copyAfter a popular Muslim cleric declared selfies a sin, young Indonesians decided to take matters into their own hands — by striking a pose and continuing to snap.

Felix Siauw, an Indonesian author and religious leader with a substantial social media presence, is arguing that people who take selfies are giving in to pride — which means snapping a selfie may be a sin against God.

“If we take a selfie, sift through and choose our best pose, and then we’re awed and impressed by our selves – worryingly, that’s called PRIDE,” Siauw wrote during a Twitter rant, according to a translation provided by Coconuts Jakarta.

“If we take a selfie and we feel cooler and better than others – we’ve fallen into the worst sin of all, ARROGANCE,” he continued.

He then took aim at Muslim women, accusing them of taking selfies without shame.

Read the rest here.

Virginity Tests for Indonesian School Girls?

muslim-schoolgirls-in-burqasA plan to make female high school students undergo mandatory virginity tests has been met with outrage from activists, who argue that it discriminates against women and violates their human rights.

Education chief Muhammad Rasyid, of Prabumulih district in south Sumatra put forward the idea, describing it as “an accurate way to protect children from prostitution and free sex”. He said he would use the city budget to begin tests early next year if MPs approved the proposal.

“This is for their own good,” Rasyid said. “Every woman has the right to virginity … we expect students not to commit negative acts.”

The test would require female senior school students aged 16 to 19 to have their hymen examined every year until graduation. Boys, however, would undergo no investigation into whether they had had sex.

Read the rest: Indonesian Education Chief Proposes Virginity Test for School Girls  

In a tribal Shame/Blame culture such as Islam, the virginity of the female is sacred and the loss of it outside marriage reflects on the male members of her family.  The responsibility of virginity rests solely with the female and she is the one who suffers the consequences of violence and death, not the man, even if it is rape.

No Dancing in Public, Women. It Fuels Men’s Desire

Indonesian Women DancingAnother norm based on Sharia is destined to provoke heated debate in the province of Aceh, the only one in Indonesia – the world’s most populous Muslim nation – in which there is Islamic law. The authorities of the district of North Aceh have in fact issued an edict forbidding women to “dance in public.”

 The incident has sparked protests by human rights activists and ordinary citizens, who describe the regulation as “bizarre.”

Moreover, the authority of the special territory, in the most western part of the Indonesian archipelago, are no strangers to promulgating laws and regulations (often exclusively directed at women) that are highly unusual and serious source of social unrest: a ban on women straddling motorcycles, police clamp downs on jeans and tight skirts, sectarian tensions that sometimes escalate into Islamist fringe violence against the Christian minority.

Read the rest: No Dancing for Women in Indonesia.

Indonesian Authorities Attempt to Legitimize FGM

Girl undergoing FGM

Authorities in Indonesia have been criticised for attempting to “legitimise” female genital mutilation (FGM). According to Faiza Jama Mohamed, director of Equality Now in Nairobi, girls in the country are often forced to undergo the procedure when they are less than six weeks old, Women News Network reports. This, she said, is increasingly being carried out by “medical professionals in a supposedly safe environment”.


Read the rest: Authorities in Indonesia Attempt to Legitimize Female Genital Mutilation

FGM Update: November 18, 2012

Performing Female Genital MutilationThere is increasing discussion around the subject of Female Genital Mutilation and for that, I am very thankful.  Although many Muslims claim that FGM is not Islamic, the fact remains that the majority of cuttings are on Muslim girls, and, that although FGM is not required in Islam, it is also an accepted practice since Mohammed did not forbid it.

From Australia:  More than 120,000 migrant women in Australia have suffered genital mutilation – a brutal religious practice common in Islamic populations in Africa, South America, parts of Asia and the Middle East.

There is no data held on how widespread female genital mutilation is in Australia, but 7.30 has spoken to women who are voicing their concerns despite the fear of rejection from their communities.

Read the rest and see the video: Female Genital Mutilation in Australia. 

From Indonesia:  It’s 9.30am on a Sunday, and the mood inside the school building in Bandung, Indonesia, is festive. Mothers in headscarves and bright lipstick chat and eat coconut cakes. Javanese music thumps from an assembly hall. There are 400 people crammed into the primary school’s ground floor. It’s hot, noisy and chaotic, and almost everyone is smiling.

Twelve-year-old Suminah is not. She looks like she wants to punch somebody. Under her white hijab, which she has yanked down over her brow like a hoodie, her eyes have the livid, bewildered expression of a child who has been wronged by people she trusted. She sits on a plastic chair, swatting away her mother’s efforts to placate her with a party cup of milk and a biscuit. Suminah is in severe pain. An hour earlier, her genitals were mutilated with scissors as she lay on a school desk.

During the morning, 248 Indonesian girls undergo the same ordeal. Suminah is the oldest, the youngest is just five months. It is April 2006 and the occasion is a mass ceremony to perform sunat perempuan or “female circumcision” that has been held annually since 1958 by the Bandung-based Yayasan Assalaam, an Islamic foundation that runs a mosque and several schools. The foundation holds the event in the lunar month of the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, and pays parents 80,000 rupiah (£6) and a bag of food for each daughter they bring to be cut.

Read the rest of this excellent story: Female Genital Mutilation in Indonesia.

from Tanzania: Officials in Tanzania are facing calls to take more action to prevent female genital mutilation (FGM). The Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) has been holding meetings to garner people’s views on what rules and regulations they would like to see changed, the Tanzania Daily News reports.

Several women flagged up FGM as a particular concern, with some arguing the procedure is barbaric and archaic.

Read the rest: Female Genital Mutilation in Tanzania.  

From Africa: A campaigner against FGM has welcomed efforts to clamp down on the procedure in Africa.

According to Efua Dorkenoo, advocacy director at Equality Now, several African nations are moving “in the right direction” with regards to stopping FGM, reports TrustLaw.

Read the rest: Campaign Reducing FGM in Africa 

Indonesian City to Pass Sharia Law That All Women Wear Headscarves

Four Versions of Head Coverings for Muslim Women

The Tasikmalaya City Council will soon pass a regulation that will require all Muslim women, including visitors to the West Java city, to wear headscarves.

Tasikmalaya city secretary Tio Indra Setiadi said on Monday that preparations for the regulation would be finished soon.

Tio said that a special team would be set up like Aceh’s Sharia Police to implement the bylaw as sharia violations could not be handled by the National Police.

Read the rest: Tasikmalaya, Indonesia Makes Muslim Women Wear Headscarves.

Why must Muslim women cover up and stay at home?  It is sunnah and the sharia law of Islamic civilization.

Here’s how an Egyptian woman feels about covering up.

While all eyes are focused on the presidential race, on the streets of Egypt, inch by inch, bit by bit, women’s rights are shrinking. Women, Muslim and Christian, who do not cover their hair or who wear mid-sleeved clothing are met with insults, spitting and in some cases physical abuse. In the urban squatter settlement of Mouasset el Zakat, in Al Marg, Greater Cairo, women told me that they hated walking in the streets now. Thanks to the lax security situation, they have restricted their mobility to all but the most essential of errands. Whereas a couple of years ago they could just inform their husbands where they were going (visiting parents, friends or going to the hairdresser for example), now they have to get their husbands or older sons to accompany them if they go out after sunset.

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Indonesia and Its Transition to Sharia Law

Dance in BaliIndonesia, long touted to be a moderate Islamic country, has been slowly increasing adherence to Islamic doctrine due to the rise of a more fundamentalist Islamic government, influenced by Islamic clerics.  So far, the list of things that are not or should not be permitted (haram) in Indonesia include:


These no-no’s echo the prohibitions of Islamic sharia law.

In Aceh, Indonesia, morality police (Wilayatul Hisbah) enforce obedience  to sharia law that includes no gambling, no drinking alcohol, no pubic displays of affection, no dancing, and certainly no unmarried couples running around together, no homosexuality or adultery, as well as the no-no list in the above paragraph.

Conservatives across Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, eye Aceh with envy.
No other province in the otherwise secular nation has been allowed to set up a Shariah police force. Still,more than 50 local governments have followed Aceh in installing Shariah-based laws.

Is the cancellation of the Lady Gaga concert an indication of what the future holds for the Indonesian young people?  If the Islamic clerics continue to have the power of the government behind them, then the answer is yes.  Strict sharia law as it is practiced in Aceh will ultimately spread throughout Indonesia.

So even though its Constitution states that Indonesia is a secular country, it seems to be secular in name only.  Sharia law is becoming the law of the land.  This doesn’t bode well for Western rock/pop stars or for the Hindus in Bali.

Female Genital Mutilation Persists in Indonesia Despite Ban

Girl in Indonesia Undergoing Female Genital Mutilation.  Though the Indonesian government banned female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) four years ago, experts say religious support for the practice is more fervent than ever, particularly in rural communities.

A lack of regulation since the ban makes it difficult to monitor, but medical practitioners say FGM/C remains commonplace for women of all ages in this emerging democracy of 240 million – the world’s largest Muslim nation.
[ . . . ]
With increased urging of religious leaders, baby girls are now losing the top or part of their clitoris in the name of faith, sometimes in unsanitary rooms with tools as crude as scissors.

“We fear if [FGM/C] gets more outspoken support from religious leaders it will increase even more. We found in our latest research that not only female babies are being circumcised, but also older women ask for it,” said Artha Budi Susila Duarsa, a university researcher at Yarsi University in Jakarta.

While the procedure in Indonesia is not as severe as in parts of Africa and involves cutting less flesh, it still poses a serious health concern. “Even a small wound on the genitals can lead to sexual, physiological and physical problems,” Duarsa said.

Indonesia forbade health officials from the practice in 2006 because they considered it a “useless” practice that “could potentially harm women’s health”.  However, the ban was quickly opposed by the Indonesian Ulema Council, the highest Islamic advisory body in Indonesia.

In March this year, the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the country’s largest Muslim organization, issued an edict supporting FGM/C, though a leading cleric told the NU’s estimated 40 million followers “not to cut too much”.
“It is against human rights,” said Maria Ulfah Anshor, a women’s rights activist and former chair of the women’s wing of the NU. “For women there is absolutely no benefit and advantage.”
[ . . . ]
The 2006 ban prohibited FGM/C, but in practice there is no oversight. Yarsi University researchers found that in spite of the ban, the practice continues unabated in hospitals and health centres.

A midwife at a state hospital in Jakarta told IRIN on condition of anonymity that she cuts newborn girls: “When mothers ask me to do it, I tell them about the upsides and downsides of circumcision,” she said.  But when asked to explain the benefits, she declined further comment.

According to Yarsi University’s research, most incidents happen in secret, sometimes unhygienic, back-street operating rooms – creating a big risk of infection.

Read the rest: Female Genital Mutilation Persists in Indonesia Despite Ban Read more on FGM in Indonesia from Sama Tata Foundation blog.

Updates on the Cancelled Lady Gaga Concert in Indonesia

Lady Gaga Concert Schedule for Asia

After 52,000 tickets are sold, police has officially vetoed Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Ball in Jakarta, Indonesia
Big Daddy, the organizer of Lady Gaga’s The Born This Way Ball in Indonesia, revealed that they were shocked about the cancellation news, for they have not received any written documents from the National Indonesian Police. Big Daddy claims that the concert has been granted official permission from the Indonesian Tourism Ministry.
[ . . . ]
What was supposed to be Lady Gaga’s biggest show on the Asian leg of The Born This Way Ball will now have to be cancelled. Earlier today, the local police confirmed the strong rumours: the show scheduled on June 3 will have to be cancelled. Skimpy costumes, erotic dance moves, as well as pressure from the local Islamic hardline group are reported to be the cancellation causes.

Dashed are hopes of Malaysians who were considering, of have bought tickets to watch the extravagant performer in the neighbouring country. The news raises brows because the world’s most populous country is known to be liberal about art expressions, including musical concerts, especially after the national reformation in 1998.

“We will not issue a permit for the Lady Gaga concert in Jakarta,” stated Saud Usman Nasution, Indonesian national police spokesman.
[ . . . ]
“She is very dangerous for our young generation. She has even said herself that she’s the devil’s messenger,” said Jakarta FPI [Islamic Defenders Front] chairman Habib Salim Alatas who declared the organization was relieved to know that the police is banning the concert.

Read the rest: Indonesian Police Cancel Lady Gaga Concert.

Lady Gaga Concert Canceled by Indonesian Muslims

Lady Gaga Lady Gaga will have to cancel her sold-out show in Indonesia following protests by Islamic hard-liners and conservative lawmakers, who said her sexy clothes and dance moves will corrupt the youth.

National police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar, responding to the pressure, said Tuesday that the permit for her June 3 “Born This Way Ball” concert had been denied.

Indonesia, a nation of 240 million people, has more Muslims than any other. Although it is secular and has a long history of religious tolerance, a small extremist fringe has become more vocal in recent years.

Hard-liners have loudly criticized Lady Gaga, saying the suggestive nature of her show threatened to undermine the country’s moral fiber. Some threatened to use physical force to prevent her from stepping off the plane.

Read more: Lady Gaga Show Canceled After Pressure from Islamic Hard-liners.
I was not surprised by the cancellation.  First of all, Indonesia is not secular.  Sharia law has been adopted in some parts of the country. See also here.  Recently I posted an article  about a fight between women’s groups and the Islamic hardline groups over a gender equality bill and an article  about Irshad Manji being attacked by Islamic fanatatics at her book signing.

The population of kafirs in Indonesia: the Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and others, should be wary and on their guard, for if history teaches any lessons about Islamic supremacy, it is that in the future they will be persecuted.