Creeping Sharia, just outside of Jakarta. Customers wield immense power where advertising is concerned, and may always vote with their pocketbooks where it crosses lines of decency or stupidity. Wouldn’t it be more impressive than a ban if pious residents of Depok took their business elsewhere en masse? That would achieve a more lasting social change.
Here, the government has found this a suitable way to look busy on the taxpayer dime, taking measures tantamount to swatting a fly with a sledgehammer. And it has stated in so many words its intention to implement more Sharia.
One must wonder how long the lines of young men became to apply for the job as Discerner of Sexy Ads, or a Saudi censor with a black marker, or a valiant fighter in the Somali Bra-Spotting Jihad. Any prospective “Virtue and Vice” officer who looks too eager probably has to go to the back of the line.
“Ad Billboards Featuring ‘Sexy’ Women Banned in Depok,” from the Jakarta Globe, November 12:
The municipal government of Depok, one of Jakarta’s satellite cities, banned advertisement billboards featuring “˜sexy” women this month.
What about men?
The deputy mayor of Depok, Abdul Somad, said the policy was adopted because one of Depok’s missions is to become a religious city.
A few weeks ago, Depok officials took down a deodorant ad billboard featuring a woman showing her underarm. They deemed the advertisement to be “sexy.”
Did they put it to a vote?
“The limit between what is moral and immoral is closely related to the culture and personality of the city. For example, when I was on vacation in London, I saw a billboard featuring a woman wearing very little clothing and there’s nothing wrong with that because the London dwellers are OK with it, but it may not apply here [Depok],” Abdul told news portal Okezone.com.
He welcomes debate or discussion regarding the policy.
“It is closely related to the debate of what constitutes pornography. The limit is not clear and it is very debatable,” he said, adding that different cities may have different policies.
Depok, located 20 kilometers south of Jakarta, is led by a politician from the Islam-based Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), Nur Machmudi Ismail. The mayor is known for his campaign to transform Depok into a religious city.
Last year, he banned karaoke establishments and closed at least five big karaoke parlors located in the city center, stating that those places could be used for “negative” activities such as prostitution.
For as often as allegations or threats of the proliferation of prostitution are made for the sake of imposing Sharia, one would almost think cities like this must make Times Square look like Sesame Street.