08 April, 2007

Indonesia: Playboy Magazine And Muslim Fanatacism

On Thursday, April 5, the editor of the nudity-free Indonesian version of Playboy was found not guilty of violating decency by publishing the magazine. The news is found in various sources - the Asia Media Network, Chicago Sun-Times, CNN (Reuters), Australian Broadcasting, Court TV News, Antara and other sources.

The editor-in-chief of the Indonesian version of the magazine, Erwin Arnada was found not guilty of public distribution of indecent pictures and making money from these. At the court in South Jakarta, presiding judge Efran Basuni said that the prosecution's case "could not be accepted", claiming their lawyers "were not diligent". Basuni said the prosecution had not taken into account media laws which had been created after the dictator President Suharto was deposed in 1998.

The trial had been attended by about 200 Islamic militants, who themselves were watched by police who had water cannon at the ready. Hardliners said after the trial that Erwin Arnada had "harmed the nation's morals".

The case highlights how Indonesia, whose population of 220 million is 85% Muslim is riven by opposing interpretations of Islam. The Front Pembela Islam (Islamic Defenders' Front) are the most active in demanding intolerant forms of Islam.. These activists have mounted campaigns of violence against "American" influence in the country in 2001, and have closed down gambling dens, snooker halls and bars.

In the wake of the tsunami of December 24, 2004, members of the Front Pembela Islam accused relief workers from Western aid groups of attempting to convert Muslims in Aceh, and made threats to kill anyone they suspected of trying to convert anyone.

This group was involved in intimidating judges during two controversial trials. In September 2005 they arrived in truckloads at the courtroom in Indramayu, West Java where three Christian women were on trial for "attempting to convert" Muslim children, by inviting them to a fun day organized by their Sunday school. The women were found guilty of contravening article 86 of the nation's 2002 Child Protection Act and sentenced to three years' jail. In January last year, the three women - Rebecca Loanita Zakaria, Etty Pangesti and Ratna Mala Bangun lost their appeal. In the original 2005 trial they carried a coffin to the courtroom, bearing the name "Rebecca". They threatened to kill the women if the court did not jail them. Their mass action probably affected the outcome of the verdict.

The same group appeared at Palu district court, Central Sulawesi province, in April 2001, where three Christians were on trial. Fabianus Tibo, Dominggus da Silva and Marinus Riwu were accused on flimsy evidence of killing Muslims during sectarian conflict in Poso. Even though more Christians were killed in this conflict than Muslims, the three Christians were given a death sentence. Muslims had received no more than 15-year jail terms for their part in the killing of Christians. The three men were executed in September last year. During their original trial, members of FPI had surrounded the courtroom and threatened violence if the three men did not receive a death sentence.

The Front Pembela Islam members were particularly active last February during the Danish cartoon crisis, attacking the US Embassy and intimidating guests at the Holiday Inn in Bandung. They also attacked the offices of Indonesian Playboy in April last year.

The Front Pembela Islam have also been influential in imposing sharia laws in various regencies and cities under Indonesia's by-laws.

The story of the Indonesian version of Playboy has been marred by Islamists politicking around the case, months before the first issue was produced. In January 2006, Avianto Nugroho announced that he had gained the license to publish an Indonesian version of Playboy magazine. When he announced this, he made plain that the magazine would contain no nudity.

The Majelis Mujahidin Indonesia, "Holy Warriors of Indonesia", an Islamist group whose former leader was Abu Bakar Bashir (imprisoned for involvement in the 2002 Bali bombings, but acquitted this January), decided to stir up protest. The chairman of the group, Irfan Awas, said "Different or not, Playboy is Playboy. It is a porn magazine.... The magazine will damage the morality of the nation."

The first issue was scheduled to appear in March 2006. However the first edition of Indonesian Playboy did not appear until April 7. One leader of the FPI, Tubagus Muhamad Sidik, said: "Even if it had no pictures of women in it, we would still protest it because of the name. If they don't withdraw it then we will act in our own way, the forceful way. Our crew will clearly hound the editors."

Muhammad Alawi Usman, spokesman for the Front Pembela Islam, said: "If within a week they are still active and sell the magazine, we will take physical action. Playboy is not suitable for reading because its contents degrade women."

Costing twice the average daily income in Indonesia, Playboy was a luxury that most Indonesians could not afford. But it soon became obvious that the anti-American FPI members were more concerned in demonstrating their power to undemocratically force issues in the nation, and Playboy was a convenient symbol of the country the group loves to hate.

True to their threats, less than a week after first publication, the Front Pembela Islam attacked the offices where Playboy was being produced. 300 members of the group descended on the south Jakarta building, smashed windows, and destroyed the gate and door of the building.

A policeman was injured, but apparently there were no arrests. The staff of the magazine had to relocate to a secret address. Even when a charge had been laid against the magazine's editor, Erwin Arnada, the protesters turned their attention to the first "centerfold" model in January.

The model, who had appeared in the magazine with no nudity, was called Andhara Early. She appeared at the court case to give evidence, and was savagely abused by the Islamists. They called her a "cheap prostitute" and told her "I hope your daughter gets raped."

The trial was held in camera in south Jakarta. Erwin Arnada, chief editor, could have received a two and a half year jail sentence if he had been found guilty. Abu Bakar Bashir of the Majelis Mujahidin Indonesia or "Holy Warriors of Indonesia" had attended the trial. In March he complained that the prosecution was not pressing hard enough to get draconian penalties. He said to reporters outside the courtroom: "The prosecution's demand does not match the damage that Playboy has inflicted. We want the judges to give the defendant a heavier sentence."

Prosecutor Resni Muchtar told the court: "The pictures selected by the defendant were improper for publication because they violated decency and aroused lust." Outside, demonstrators shouted "Hang him, hang him!"

This is the side of Islam that we in the West would be foolish to ignore. Leftists pretend that Islam is a peaceful religion, built upon cosy family values. By promoting such lies, they are opening the door to activists such as these to destroy our democracies, much as they are destroying the democracy in "moderate Muslim Indonesia".(Source)

Read Also :

Playboy Indonesia 'not pornography' - Al Jazeera



Blogger zewt said...

how ppl will just justify their action when they want something... how typical!

April 10, 2007 1:30 AM  

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