Sharia cops vs. Indonesian punks


This photo taken on December 4, 2009 shows three Acehnese youths (L) being arrested by a team of Sharia police in Banda Aceh after they were caught gambling over dominoes at a cafe across from a mosque. Most Muslims in the country of 234 million people are modern and moderate, and Indonesia's constitution recognises five official religions including Buddhism and Christianity. But Aceh has special autonomy, and one of the ways it has defined itself as different from the rest of the country is through the implementation of sharia law and the advent of the religious police.



Why do cops in Indonesia's strictest Islamic territory hate local punk rockers?

They just do, the punks of Aceh told the Jakarta Globe. The Sharia police, given broad powers to crack down on social impurities, are ridding the streets of punk kids, sometimes demanding they shave off their dyed hair. The kids cry discrimination, the Globe reports, but the police say punk rockers are a nuisance. 

"Parents have thanked us because they have been unable to knock sense into their kids who have been influenced by this punk culture," a Sharia police investigator told the newspaper.

Besides offering a plot for a potentially awesome teen flick, the Sharia crackdown on Indonesian punks is the latest attempt to police morality in strictly Islamic Aceh.

Last month, groups marched the streets in Aceh to stop Muslims from celebrating Valentine's Day.

Last year, police set up checkpoints to catch women wearing jeans. Caught traveling in Levi's? Cops had 20,000 skirts on hand to cover up the obscenity of a woman in denim.

As for the punks, many have been forced into religious study "rehabilitation" after short stays in jail, the Globe reports. Those that go back to their punky ways could bring stronger punishment which, in Aceh, often means public caning.