“They should not mix on stage wearing indecent clothes and make a lot of jumps … This is Aceh province wherein the Islamic sharia is applied, so people must adjust to it.”
Sharia Alert. “Pop group falls foul of stricter religious climate in Aceh,” from The Age:
As in the rest of the world, Indonesian pop songs are about romance, but at concerts in Aceh province boys and girls better not want to hold hands and performers are warned against “erotic” jumping during songs.
As Aceh slowly recovers from the tsunami and decades of secessionist conflict, its youth is receiving a new battering from the forces of fundamentalism.
Interesting choice of words.
Last weekend a music festival began in Banda Aceh, featuring one of the nation’s most popular bands, Nidji. The event ended in chaos with Nidji’s six members sheltering from mobs in a police station before fleeing the province.
Radical Muslims had complained the festival had encouraged promiscuity and breached sharia (Islamic law) by failing to segregate the audience by gender.
Police closed the festival after one night at the request of the Banda Aceh Ulema Council, the provincial capital’s leading religious authority.
Future concerts will face even tougher sanctions, council head Bardad told The Age yesterday. Not only must audiences be strictly segregated, but male and female band members cannot perform together.
“They should not mix on stage wearing indecent clothes and make a lot of jumps,” he said. “This is Aceh province wherein the Islamic sharia is applied, so people must adjust to it.”
A fatwa (religious decision) covering entertainment activities must be enforced across the province, Mr Bardad said. “According to the fatwa it is not only the spectators that should not mix between opposite sexes but the performers themselves.”
It was not natural for unmarried couples to associate in public, he said.
Nidji’s manager, Agung Febryanto, said the cancellation was a lost opportunity and the band had planned to adjust its performance to respect Aceh’s culture. “We would not do a lot of jumps on stage, we would be more polite and we would engage in conversations with Islamic nuance with the fans,” Mr Febryanto said. “But, well, this is what we got.”
The band spent one night at the local police headquarters, as no hotels would accommodate them due to fear of fundamentalist mobs.
UPDATE: More on what set off the mobs, from Indonesia Matters (with thanks to Shiva):
Singer Rebecca Soejati Reijman, who is from the Netherlands, was performing on stage in Banda Aceh on 26th August in front of 4,000 people in support of the Jakarta-based band “Nidji” when the head covering that she was obliged to wear in the sharia-law province got caught in the wind and fell off, revealing her head, and the hair on top of it.
Because of this she had to leave the stage and the concert ended abruptly.