Indonesian sharia police arrested more than 60 youth at a punk rock concert in the provincial capital Banda Aceh on Saturday night, and forced them to have their hair cut, bathe in a lake, change clothes and pray (definitely not the same as my extending a handshake in case you were wondering).

Now there are at least two responses to this. One very sad group of people will say the youth shouldn’t have defied Islamic culture and religion; they should have respected it; blah, blah, blah.

The rest of us, however, will side with the youth.

It’s not difficult to see that the side one takes is a matter of choice.

I know which side I’ve chosen but do you? (And you know who you are.)



  1. So this is the indonesian version of “you need to get a haircut and a proper job you hippy” then? Just this time its applied with the force of law by theocratic barbarians rather than just being muttered by bigoted old people…

      1. Obviously, yes:

        Aceh, on the northern-most tip of Sumatra island, adopted partial sharia law in 2001 as part of a special autonomy package aimed at quelling separatist sentiment.

  2. We all know, of course, that the punk rejection of arbitrary authority can be cured by forced haircuts, outdoor bathing, a change of clothes and some required irrational muttering.

  3. It’s debasement. Stripping a person of their sense of self, violating their personal space, dehumanizing them and telling them that who they are is shit. It’s the closest thing to rape you can do without sexual organs being involved. It infuriates me. I can’t even begin to express my rage.

  4. I never know whether to laugh or cry at the ridiculous goings on in the Islamic Emirate of Aceh (pronounced Acheh – a bit like a sneeze).

    A friend, who had a contract in the wonderful province once saw a couple in a restaurant who were members of the Sharia Police. The woman was not wearing a hijab. Instead of wearing the head covering she had taken the alternative route of shaving her head so as not to have any hair to expose. You just couldn’t make it up.

    Here is the latest report from Bizarro World Enjoy

  5. They made them cut their hair and bathe in a lake? I say leave their hair alone, let them take regular showers, because they aren’t Hindus bathing in the “sacred river”, let them wear what they want, as well as listen to the music they want (yeah, I know, many sects in Islam don’t allow for music) as long as they aren’t hurting anyone, and forget the useless prayers. While it wasn’t flogging, IMO, that is a milder form of abuse.

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