03/29/2012, 00.00
INDONESIA

The Indonesian government wants to ban miniskirts

Mathias Hariyadi
The ban would take effect from May and is part of the country's morality campaign. It will not regard the tourist resorts of Bali and Papua, where tribal people live. Criticism from human rights activists. Former President Megawati speaks of a diversionary tactic to divert attention from real problems.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Indonesia is banning miniskirts. According to Suryadharma Ali, Minister for Religious Affairs, the government is determined to "fight with seriousness," the tendency of women to wear sexy outfits, including the world famous "mini" because it is inconsistent with Islamic principles and morals. The decision has been met with praise from radical movements, including the approval of the Ulema Council (MUI) which invites the female world to wear "Muslim clothing". Opposition and human rights activists call on the executive to deal with the economy and dismiss the proposal as a desperate attempt to divert attention from the more concrete problems, such as rising fuel prices (see AsiaNews 28/03/2012 Clashes break out across Indonesia over rising diesel and gasoline prices, many injured), while ingratiating himself with the local extremist fringe.

The intention to ban "sexy" clothing was made by Ali - current president of the pro-Islamic United Development Party (PPP) - During a parliamentary session in Senayan, Central Jakarta. He has also covered the subject as a "secretary general" of the newly-created Presidential Task Force, called to fight against pornography as requested by Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in mid-March.

By Decree No 25/anno 2012, the Head of State marked the official birth of the Commission, under the direction of the minister for welfare Agung Laksono, it will monitor the customs, including clothing, and any performances of a sexual nature in public place. The "anti-miniskirt" law should come into force next May, tourist resort of Bali, where there are many foreigners, and the province of Papua, where tribal people native to the area continue to wear clothes traditional "mini" will be exempt.

Former President Megawati, leader of the nationalist Indonesian Democratic Party Struggle (PDIP) fiercely criticizes the government's proposal, it only serves to distract the public from more concrete problems, such as rising fuel prices which has caused enormous social tensions. Criticism also from human rights movements: Andi Yentiani, the national commission for women's rights, emphasizes that "there are more important issues that need to be addressed."

Indonesia is famous for its campaigns of moralization, in the name of Shariah and Islamic custom: among them the recent proposal for cancellation of the Lady Gaga concert, the fight against the flag-raising "because Muhammad had never done it"; invectives against the popular social network Facebook because "amoral", against yoga, smoking, jeans and the right to vote, especially for women.

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