Dirty Minds and Women who Straddle

Yet another case of men with dirty minds who blame women for the filth in their craniums.

For the sake of these easily stimulated men, they expect women to endanger their lives and sit sideways on a motorbike rather than straddling them if they are passengers.

No mention is made of whether women should do the impossible and still sideways if they are the rider rather than a pillion. Presumably a chick on a bike whether straddling or sitting sideways is too hot for religious wallahs.

Unspun’s favorite quote in this story, however, is Lhokseumawe Mayor Suaidi Yahya’s quote that “In Islam, women are not allowed to wear jeans.” Yeah, like jeans existed in the time of Muhamed.

The second best quote was the ultimate Indonesian putdown from Lawmaker Eva Kusuma Sundari who said “In Malaysia, pillion riders are obliged to straddle due to safety reasons. In this case, Malaysians are smarter than the Lhokseumawe administration.”

Ouch. To be considered more stupid than Malaysians. That must hurt.

Aceh city to ban women from straddling motorbikes | The Jakarta Post.

Bagus BT Saragih and Hotli Simanjuntak, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Headlines | Thu, January 03 2013, 11:23 AM

Straddling the issue: A police officer stops a woman on a motorcycle in Simpang Mesra, Banda Aceh, on Tuesday as part of a crackdown on women in tight clothing. Officials in nearby Lhokseumawe are considering banning women from straddling motorcycles to improve local Islamic values. (Antara/Irwansyah)Straddling the issue: A police officer stops a woman on a motorcycle in Simpang Mesra, Banda Aceh, on Tuesday as part of a crackdown on women in tight clothing. Officials in nearby Lhokseumawe are considering banning women from straddling motorcycles to improve local Islamic values. (Antara/Irwansyah)

The administration of Lhokseumawe, Aceh, is planning to issue a bylaw banning women from straddling motorcycles, arguing that the practice is “improper” in a province governed by Islamic law.

Lhokseumawe Mayor Suaidi Yahya said that women should sit sideways on motorcycles, with their legs dangling off to one side.

The planned regulation had been discussed with many parties, including local ulema, Suaidi said in his 2013 New Year’s speech.

The mayor said that the ban would restore fading local values caused by poor morality and make it easier to differentiate women from men when riding pillion.

He said that the planned regulation could in fact uphold the dignity of women in the region.

Suaidi said that the administration would begin publicizing the proposed regulation next week.

“At the first phase, we will issue a circular on it. After a period of time, we will strengthen the circular [into] a regulation. Anyone who violates the regulation will face punishment,” he said.

Suaidi also said that he had been considering banning women from wearing denim. “In Islam, women are not allowed to wear jeans.”

M. Yusuf A. Samad, a member of Lhokseumawe Legislative Council, said that he supported the motorcycle-straddling ban.

“We need to improve the implementation of sharia. The religious values of the Acehnese people have continued to fade,” he said.

According to Yusuf, straddling a motorcycle could make the curves of a woman’s body visibly clearer. “Showing the curves of a woman’s body is against Sharia,” Yusuf said.

Separately, the National Commission on Violence against Women (Komnas Perempuan) chairwoman Yuniyanti Chuzaifah slammed the plan, saying that it was prejudiced against women.

“I cannot understand the aims of such a policy. Local government should focus more on providing protection and service to women who fall victim to violence and enhancing education for women instead,” she told The Jakarta Post.

Lawmaker Eva Kusuma Sundari shared Yuniyanti’s opinion, saying that sitting sideways on a motorcycle could leave riders more prone to accidents.

“In Malaysia, pillion riders are obliged to straddle due to safety reasons. In this case, Malaysians are smarter than the Lhokseumawe administration,” she said.

“You cannot issue a policy only based on emotional sentiment that tends to be very subjective. A public policy must promote the protection of the public,” she added.

Women activists in Aceh have condemned the plan, calling it a lunatic proposal. “The way women ride a bike, how they speak and how they dress should not be the concern for the government,” Norma Manalu of Balai Syura Ureung Inong Aceh NGO.

Aceh, the nation’s westernmost province is the only region allowed to apply sharia under the law on Acehnese special autonomy. Lawmakers in the province have continued to spark controversy due to the issuance of a number of sharia-based regulations.

Among the controversial regulations are a bylaw regulating Koran-reading proficiency levels for prospective civil servants and a regulation banning women from wearing “tight” dresses.

The deed no self respecting FPI preman would do

Isn’t it so comforting to see justice being administered so swiftly and decisively in Indonesia. Justice, which moves so slowly and timidly when FPI guys are on the giving end, apparently speeds up when the violence goes another way.

Unspun is not so much perplexed by the seemingly uneven-handedness of the law in Indonesia, which is not an unusual thing, but the reputation of the poor FPI victims. Those of you who know anything about the FPI guys will know that they are real tough guys who would want to make Al Capone look like a sissy.

Tough guys, as we know from countless gangster movies, always settle their scores their way. A butterfly knife, a pistol shot, a golok, a big stick are the usual method of getting back at anyone who offends them or attacks them. So what sort of a tough guy is this who runs to the police and the courts for protection and restitution?

Will other gangsters respect him from now on? Or will they laugh at him, like a boy who wets his pants at the sight of his own shadow. Will other FPI members, if they actually have a brain, be able to look at him straight in the eyes and prevent themselves from giggling?

These are the questions that matter where gangsters are concerned, not how justice is or is not dispensed by the police and courts. So get with the program.

Two Men Convicted For Attacking FPI Member

The Semarang district court on Tuesday declared two men guilty for abusing a member of a hard-line Islamic group.

Koes Setiawan Danang Marwardi, locally known as Iwan Walet, was sentenced to 15 months in jail, while his cohort, Mardi Sugeng, also known as Gembor, received one year in prison.

Presiding Judge Boedi Soseanto said that both men were proven convincingly guilty for attacking Dwi Pamuji, a member of the extremist group the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), this past May.

“Both defendants violated Article 170 of the Criminal Code on abuse according to the indictment,” Boedi read during the ruling on Tuesday, as quoted by Antara news agency.

Iwan Walet, a recidivist, apologized earlier to the victim and promised the judge that he would not repeat his mistake.

Though the sentence was three months shorter than what Bima Suprayoga, the prosecutor, demanded, both he and the convicts accepted the ruling.

During the previous session of court, Iwan admitted to beating the victim with a 100-cm metal pole, while Gembor confessed that he kicked and beat Dwi with a brick.

After the ruling was read, some FPI members shouted at the judge and asked him to release the convicts so that they could take revenge. Iwan then stared at the FPI supporters and challenged them — he shouted “One guts!” and his supporters answered him with “Ora Wedi,” Javanese for “Not Afraid.”

After the case, FPI members tried to attack Iwan’s supporters, but police officers prevented them doing so and escorted them out of the court.

Solving the wrong problem precisely with proposal to convert Shiites

This is a typical case of what Mitroff and Silvers discuss in their book Dirty Rotten Strategies: How We Trick Ourselves and Others into Solving the Wrong Problems Precisely. Unspun has a more precise tag for this kind of thinking which is in my tag: shot-for brains.

The root causes of the persecution of the Shiites by the majority Sunni Moslems in Indonesia is not because they hold a slightly different belief. What’s really causing this wholesale and constant attack on a minority is intolerance, reluctant and poor police enforcement and an absence of political to hold the police accountable for failure to keep the peace (what happened to the police chief after he admitted to a failure of intelligence in the last Shiite bashing? Nothing) will to get Indonesians to respect the law and one another.

Solve these problems and you would see a reduction of cases where Shiites are persecuted, often brutally. Converting Shiites to Sunnis would be solving the wrong problems precisely and have it come back to bit us in the rump. If there are no shiites to pick on the intolerance, poor enforcement of laws and lack of political will give the opportunity for other bullies in the Indonesian society to persecute others. Perhaps gays, lesbians, transponders, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, the rich, Chinese…whichever group that forms a minority and therefore vulnerable to mob rule.

Shia conversion is solution: Minister

Margareth S. Aritonang, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Headlines | Thu, September 06 2012, 11:08 AM

Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali says converting Shiite Muslims to the Sunni Islam followed by most Indonesians would be the best way to prevent violent outbreaks between the sects in Sampang, East Java.

“The best solution for what has been going on in there is dialogue. Many things can happen after a dialogue. We had an experience where the Ahmadis […] converted to mainstream Islam after dialogue,” the minister said on Wednesday on the sidelines of a meeting with lawmakers on House of Representatives’ Commission VIII overseeing religious affairs.

Suryadharma was referring to the local religious leader in Ciaruteun village in Bogor, West Java, who persuaded 15 members of the minority Muslim Ahmadiyah sect in March 2011 to convert to the form of Islam practiced by most Indonesian Muslims.

The minister said that in first stage of the conversion process, minority Shiites, their majority Sunni neighbors and other stakeholders in Sampang could meet for a dialogue.

He declined calls made by moderate Muslim groups to make a determination whether Shia is heretical, claiming it was outside his remit as minister.

“I’m in no position to make the decision. I can’t ask the MUI [Indonesian Ulema Council] of Sampang to retract their religious fatwa [edict] deeming Shia as heretical. As I have said earlier, dialogue will be the best way,” Suryadharma said.

Contacted separately, Deputy Religious Affairs Minister Nasaruddin Umar concurred with Suryadharma that the ministry was obliged to educate subscribers of faiths deemed deviant by “mainstream” religions to convert to the teachings of the six religions recognized by the governments.

“We never condemned Shiite Islam as heretical or prohibited it from being practiced here because Saudi Arabia, for example, has never banned its followers from going to that country for the haj pilgrimage,” Nasaruddin said.

“I think there are around 11 different types of Shia Islam, and not all of them are heretical. It is the strands that veer off from mainstream Islam that we have to deal with,” the deputy minister said, declining to elaborate if the Sampang Shiites were outside mainstream Islam.

Sunni Muslims attacked a Shiite community in Sampang on Aug. 26, forcing almost 300 people to seek refuge in the local forest before they were given refuge in a tennis stadium.

The violence followed an attack in December 2011, when a Shiite Muslim, Mochamad Kosim, 50, was hacked to death. Three other Shiites were injured and 37 families lost their homes in the attack.

Suryadharma dismissed speculation that the violence in Sampang resulted from a sibling rivalry between Shiite leader Tajul Muluk and his Sunni brother, Roisul Hukuma.

The minister said that the mother of the brothers, Umah, was severely injured in the attack and had asked that the government to relocate the Shiites to prevent more attacks.

“She told me that when I went to visit her a day after the attack. However, it is up to the community whether or not they want to leave the area. We will move them to somewhere safer if they make the decision. Nonetheless, they can stay in the neighborhood if they want to do so,” he said.

East Java Governor Soekarwo previously dismissed schemes to relocate Shiite residents, although little action has been taken by provincial officials to safeguard them.

Critics said that Soekarwo’s reluctance to take action to aid the Shiites was done to garner support from Sunni Muslims in the run up to the East Java gubernatorial election.

Suryadharma and Nasaruddin declined to comment on potential connections to gubernatorial politics.

Why do mosques turn up the volume during Ramadhan?

Ah ‘Tis the Season. Unspun‘s spent many dawns being frightened from his sleep due to the fact that there are at least three mosques nearby.

The question: “Why doesn’t anyone tell them to tone down?” occurred to Unspun but being a coward, he’s too afraid to even utter it to the weeds in his garden, lest the neighbors hear of it and take offense. It is a touchy subject and even though the intention of questioning is to try to understand, it is often misconstrued as an attempt to insult and denigrate the religion.

Unspun‘s also thought that there must be many Muslims themselves who must have asked the same question, but apart from Vice President Boediono who brought up the subject – and was roundly castigated by the faithful for it – Unspun‘s known of no one with such acute hearing. And who could blame them since even the VP is not free from vitriolic criticism.

But it is question worth answering. Another associated question that begs for an answer is why do the mosque wallahs insist on blaring their devotions in ultra-high decibels.

Is it that they believe that people will become more pious if they hear a louder version of devotion? A bit like heavy Metal Fans being more passionate than, say, Air Supply fans? Is it a power trip by the mosque wallahs? (See, I can turn up the volume and what can you do about it if you don’t like it?)

Or is there some other reason? The Jakarta Globe (in spite of its horrible editorials) has done a good job of raising the issue. Would be good if they followed up by interviewing clerics on why they turn up the volume.

In Indonesia, Mosque Cacophony Under Scrutiny
Ahmad Pathoni | August 01, 2012

Diana Marsella lives next to a mosque in central Jakarta and the call to Islamic morning prayer jolts her out of her slumber every day before dawn.
“It’s so loud that it will wake you from your deepest sleep,” the 27-year-old computer programmer said of the scratchy announcements. “I wish they’d turn down the volume and use a better sound system.”

Calls for Indonesian mosques to lower the volume of loudspeakers have mounted during the current Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, when activity at Islamic places of worship increases.

In addition to calls to prayer, known as adhan, Indonesians use loudspeakers at mosques to amplify Koranic recitals and sermons.

Discordant voices fill entire neighborhoods during any of the five prayer times, when all the local mosques blast the adhan at the same time.

Former vice president Jusuf Kalla, who is also the chairman of the Indonesian Mosque Council, said he would organize training for mosque officials about acceptable noise levels.

“We’re not going to ban the use of loudspeakers at mosques, but the noise level must be regulated,” he was quoted as saying in local media last week.

Indonesia has more Muslims than any other country but it has also sizeable religious minorities. The country is home to about 800,000 mosques.

Even the hard-line Islamic Defenders’ Front (FPI), a group known for attacking bars and other nightspots accused of flouting restrictions on opening hours during Ramadan in the past, believe mosques should keep it down so as not to disturb people, especially non-Muslim.

Koranic recitals are encouraged during Ramadan, when Muslims refrain from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk and religious fervor is high.

“We’re worried about possible negative perceptions,” said Salim Alatas, the head of the FPI’s Jakarta branch. “Unless one is exceptionally softly spoken, no loudspeaker is necessary, especially at night.”

A businessman sees the increasing unease about the cacophony as an opportunity to introduce high fidelity sound to the places of worship.

Harry Aprianto Kissowo’s company produces loudspeakers, including a range of sound systems especially designed for mosques under the brand Al Karim.

“We want change the image of mosques as places with poor quality sound systems,” Kissowo said.

“Mosques can produce high-fidelity sound too. Calls to prayer can still be heard, and they can also be music to people’s ears.” Kissowo said his company had provided sound systems to the presidential palace and exported its products to the United States, Japan and Russia.

Guidelines on the use of loudspeakers were issued by Indonesian authorities decades ago, including a requirement for mosques to use only inside speakers for activities other than calls to prayer, but they are often ignored.

In April, Vice President Boediono triggered a debate by saying that mosques need not be too loud, something that few officials dare to say openly.

“We are all aware that the adhan is a holy call for Muslims to perform their prayers,” he said at the annual conference of the Indonesian Mosque Council.

“But I, and probably others too, feel that the sounds of adhan that are heard faintly from a distance resonate more in our hearts that those that are too loud and too close to our ears.” Some Indonesians criticized his remarks, arguing mosque noise is part of daily life in a Muslim-majority country and that he should talk about more pressing issues like corruption.

Deutsche Presse-Agentur

Finally you know who gets infuriated over talk of sex

The world is a strange place. Usually it is the Moslem cleric denouncing some seemingly depraved talk show host for sexually-explicit and immoral trash talk. This time the tables are turned with the Government watchdog  the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI) is playing moral gatekeeper and a Ustad has the role of poacher.

What a strange and wonderful world we live in.

Indonesian TV Station Cited Over ‘Vulgar’ Episode of Renowned Cleric Ustad Solmed’s Show

Indonesian TV Station Cited Over ‘Vulgar’ Episode of Renowned Cleric Ustad Solmed’s Show
The Jakarta Globe | August 01, 2012

Muslim preacher Sholahudin Mahmoed, better known as Ustad Solmed, hosts the late night talk show

Muslim preacher Sholahudin Mahmoed, better known as Ustad Solmed, hosts the late night talk show ‘Akhirnya Aku Tahu’ (‘I Finally Understand’). (Photo courtesy of ustadsolmed.com)

Indonesian television station Global TV was cited by the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI) after renowned Muslim preacher Sholahudin “Ustad Solmed” Mahmoed hosted a sexually-explicit late night talk show.Ustad Solmed discussed Islam and marital sexual relations on the July 15 episode of  “Akhirnya Aku Tahu” (“I Finally Understand”). The Islamic cleric allegedly discussed intimate details of the audience’s sex lives during what the KPI has called a “vulgar” episode of the show.

“The sex-ridden discussion happened between Ustad Solmed and members of his audience. They discussed contraception, intimate relationships between husbands and wives, the engorgement of genitals, oral sex and other ways to have sex,” the KPI said in a statement published on its website kpi.go.id Monday evening.

The show, which aired at 4 a.m., was rated “teen,” a fact that has drawn ire from the KPI, who alleged that this program violated Indonesia’s child protection laws.

“We classify this as a violation of child protection laws, norms of politeness, restrictions on sexual themes and the broadcast program’s rating,” the statement read.

The KPI urged Global TV to clean the show up and get its broadcasting in line with the commission’s standards in a letter signed by KPI chairman Mochamad Riyanto on July 30.

The commission sought the opinion of the Indonesian Council of Ulema (MUI) before issuing the letter.

“The MUI says the dialog was very vulgar and should never happen again,” the KPI says, adding a letter from the MUI was attached to a warning sent to Global TV.

The Jakarta Globe mounts a defensive commentary on its Lady Gaga editorial

Thank God and the FPI for democracy. Because of them the Jakarta Globe could show its true colors on where it sits where freedom of speech and taking a strong stand on sensitive issues are concerned.

Today it took an unusual step in penning a commentary on its controversial Lady Gaga editorial that resulted in a groundswell of protests.

Unspun thinks The Globe’s feisty defense today is healthy in the promotion of free speech, and would be even healthier if it also explained the logic behind the following sentences in the editorial: “It is not about how she dresses, which is needlessly provocative, but about what she sings and the lyrics of her songs. It is about the lack of morality in what she represents.”

Enjoy the editorial.

Going Gaga with Islam in Malaysia

How ridiculous can people get? What is it about people who ride to political power on the coattails of religion that they think they can budget others with their zealotry?

So what if the buildings in Kelantan have idols in them? What do you think will happen to the Muslims there? Will they all be converted? Take to idol worshipping? Lose faith in Allah?

Malaysia’s Kelantan: Certain buildings can be without Islamic features

Rahimy Rahim, Asia News Network (The Star), Kota Baru, Malaysia | Sat, 05/26/2012 9:25 PM

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The Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) appears to make a small consensus following the controversy on designs of new buildings but insist there be no images of idols.

The Kelantan state government will allow buildings to be constructed without any Islamic features so long they do not have elements that are against the religion, said Kelantan Chief Minister Abdul Aziz.

“Islam is a universal religion and is suitable for all races. The Buddhist association can build it [its new building] as long as it does not have elements that go against Islam,” he told reporters on Saturday.

“For instance, they can have any Chinese designs, architecture or colors but they are discouraged from putting images of idols on the buildings.”

He was asked to comment on a controversy involving the Kelantan Buddhist Association, which was required to abide by municipal by-laws requiring new buildings within its jurisdiction to have Islamic features.

It had been reported that the Kelantan Buddhist Association had submitted an appeal to the state government for its building to be constructed with Chinese features at Jl. Sultan Zainal Abidin here.

Abdul Aziz, who is also PAS spiritual leader, said the state government had no problems with the Chinese community and highlighted that they had built the Golden Jubilee Mosque, better known as the Chinese Mosque, which was inspired from his visit to Beijing.

“The mosque was created 100 percent based on Chinese design and architecture. Previously, many Chinese groups had also approached me to seek approval to build Chinese-style buildings and I had approved them,” he added.

via Malaysia’s Kelantan: Certain buildings can be without Islamic features | The Jakarta Post.