Not lost amid the events roiling the world – the threatened euro meltdown, riots and repression in Egypt, killings of protestors in Syria, the death of North Korea’s dear leader, is the story of a bunch of kids snatched up by police at a Punk rock concert in Aceh, Indonesia.
Punk has been around a long time. Sid vicious and Johnny rRotten raged in the 70s, but to a lot of kids around the world, adapting what they see as a punk lifestyle,centered on music, tattoos, piercings and just generally, looking and acting weird, and not fitting in, is the way to find identity in repressive societies.
Aceh, the northern most part of Sumatra in the West of Indonesia, is a beautiful land of forested mountains, rushing rivers, long white beaches and reefs teeming with life. A trading entrepot for many centuries, its culture is a an eclectic mix of local, India, Arab and Chinese influences.
It is also the place where Islam entered Indonesia, and has been under Shariah law under the terms of the autonomy agreement signed in Helsinki,in 2005, between the Indonesian government and rebels who had fought a three decades long independence war. Aceh has long been a place ruled by traditional Islamic mores, and while the shariah regime is yet lighter than in Saudi Arabia, it is tightening its grip.
Aceh first came to the notice of the entire world for its enormous suffering from the 2004 Tsunami, but lately its press has been rather poor. The punk round up is the latest in a series of stories that have shown the brutal, and frequently illogical, face of shariah to the world.
“There will be a traditional ceremony. First their hair will be cut. Then they will be tossed into a pool. The women’s hair we’ll cut in the fashion of a female police officer,” Iskander said on Tuesday. “Then we’ll teach them a lesson.” said Aceh police chief Ins. Gen. Iskandar Hasan, as reported by the Jakarta Globe. “I’ll remind [police] not to breach human rights,” He concluded.(13 December)
Human rights in Islam are analogous to animal rights in an abattoir: they may be acknowledged, but the outcome in both cases is equally grim.
Chief Hasan may sound hypocritical and illogical, but within the closed system that is Islam, he makes perfect sense: helping Muslims adhere to Islamic rules upholds their right to be perfect Muslims, and more importantly, the right of the Ummah ( Islamic community) to have no imperfect Muslims among its members.
The Globe headline speaks of “reeducation,” but what the police chief proposed, and subsequently carried out, has much in common with Isamic religious practice and jurisprudence.
He has every right to proceed as he has because
“That which the Muslims consider good, Allah considers good.” *(see end note)
.And clearly these Muslims do not consider being a punk good. The “pool of water ” is reminscent of the ghusl, a purificatory bath to remove janaba, ritual defilement. The haircuts too, have some support:
It is offensive to shave part of the head and leave part unshaven.
So mohawks are out.
There is no harm in shaving it all off
On the other hand,The girls who had their long hair shorn may have a beef:
It is unlawful for a woman to cut her hair to disfigure herself, though if done for thesake of beauty it is permissible.
So Siead O’Connor is ok, but one would think have disfigurement imposed would not be, but the policewomen with the clippers no doubt would take the legalistic view: the ruling says “disfigure herself” and they did it for these wayward girls.
The Aceh punk roundup story has legs that are still running strong. “AnarchoPunks n Moscow have grafittied the Indonesian Embassy in Moscow with slogans such as:
“Religion=Fascism.” and “Punk is not a crime.”
Buy those lads some vodka!
As of yesterday, December 20, the punks were holding up well.. This WP/AP story details their defiance.
At the same time, Secretary Clinton has been holding a conference( closed proceedings ) with the OIC in
Washington so as to work on eliminating defamation of religion and religious prejudice. No doubt a press release announcing a multifaith center with a church and a synagogue in Mecca is forthcoming.
Listen to the punks: they know the truth.
*( From: “Reliance of The traveler, a Manual of Islamic Sacred Law” A compendium of scholarship of the Shafi school. Published in English and Arabic by Amana Publications, Maryland USA. 2008 edition. Certified for accuracy of translation and scholarship by Al Azhar University Cairo and the International Institute for Islamic thought, Herndon, Virgina, USA, among others. All other comments on Islamic law and religious practice in this piece are from the same source.”