Though we first reported on the story yesterday, today major news outlets began covering the shocking abuse of Indonesian punk fans by the Shari'ah police of Aceh. ABC News has a photo of all the shaved fans who were unceremoniously dumped in a pool, The Associated Press shows a fan being forced to have his hair shaved, while Deputy mayor Illiza Sa'aduddin Djamal tried to justify the behavior:
The presence of the punk community is disturbing, and disrupts the life of the Banda Aceh public. This is a new social disease affecting Banda Aceh. If it is allowed to continue, the government will have to spend more money to handle them. Their morals are wrong. Men and women gather together, and that is against Islamic Shariah. We will keep conducting raids until they're all caught, then we'll bring them for reeducation here. Aceh is a Shariah region. Everyone should obey it and the punk community is clearly against Shariah. This training will be an example in Indonesia of the reeducation of the punks.
Some of those caught up in the arrests defended themselves:
What did we do to deserve arresting? We didn't steal and we didn't bother anyone. The punk community in Banda Aceh is not involved with criminality. So what's the crime that justifies us being brought to this camp? This country hasn't yet made it illegal to express yourself, right?
As we noted, other than the imposition of Shariah law in Aceh , the nation is still regarded as a bastion of religious freedom and pluralism in a majority Islamic country. You can see several troubling photos here.
Update: This story and yesterday's were unclear about the extent to which Shariah law applies in Indonesia. Aceh, along with Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Papua, and West Papua have greater legislative latitude than other parts of the country and Aceh was able to independently establish Shariah law within the region. We apologize if we inadvertently misrepresented the situation in a very large and very diverse country.