Muslims in Jakarta March in Favor of Anti-Pornography Bill

May 22, 2006


Wire Service: AP

On May 22, 2006 the Associated Press reported, "Up to 100,000 people jammed streets in the Indonesian capital yesterday, shouting slogans and hoisting banners in support of a proposed anti-pornography law that critics fear will erode the mostly Muslim nation's secular traditions. The protesters, who arrived in buses organised by mosques and conservative Islamic groups, urged Parliament to immediately pass the bill, which in its current form would ban kissing in public, as well as erotic poetry, dancing, drawing, writing, photos and film. Organisers said 1 million people would attend the demonstration. Turnout appeared far less than that, perhaps 100,000, but it was still one of the largest shows of force by conservative Islam in recent years. The protest virtually shut down main roads in the capital for several hours as the demonstrators made their way to the parliament building, which was guarded by hundreds of police officers, some in riot gear. "Pornography is part of the culture of the West and the unbelievers,' said demonstrator Choirul Hassan. 'They are exporting this to Indonesia to destroy a whole generation of Muslim youth. They must be stopped.' Some demonstrators carried banners calling for the imposition of Islamic law in the country, which is home to some 190 million Muslims - more than any other country in the world - but also has significant Christian, Hindu and Buddhist minorities... The Bill, which was originally drafted in 1999 following the downfall of former President Suharto, is facing opposition from nationalist lawmakers, who form a majority in the house. It is unlikely to be passed in its current form."