Indonesian police raided a punk-rock concert and detained 65 fans in the conservative province of Aceh Saturday. Police shaved off the fans’ spiky mohawks and removed body piercings because of the threat they said it caused to Islamic values.
Dog-collar necklaces and chains were thrown into pools of water for “spiritual” cleansing, and the rockers were forced to bathe in a lake, change clothes and then pray. Police said they were “morally rehabilitating” the rockers because they had soiled the province’s Islamic image.
An AFP reporter on the scene says that after local police chief Iskandar Hasan replaced their “disgusting” clothes, he handed each of the punk rockers a toothbrush and yelled “Use it!”
The AP reports that the crackdown is only the latest in a string of efforts by authorities in Aceh to protect strict moral laws.
Adultery is punishable by stoning to death in the province, and homosexuals have been jailed or lashed. Women must wear headscarves and are not permitted to wear tight pants. Aceh is the only province in Indonesia, which is secular but predominantly Muslim, to have imposed Islamic laws.
Hasan says the rockers will spend the next 10 days getting rehabilitation, learning military-style discipline, and taking religious classes, including Quran recitation. They will then be sent home.
Twenty-year-old punker, Fauzan, whose head was shaven, told the AP he was mortified.
“Why? Why my hair?!” he said. “We didn't hurt anyone. This is how we've chosen to express ourselves. Why are they treating us like criminals?”
A reader has pointed out that Aceh police are having problems of their own. The Jakarta Post reports that up to 1,000 police personnel have been offered counseling services due to their “involvement in narcotics.” More than 180 officers have identifed as users or distributors so far.
See photos from Aceh below:
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