Muslim Cleric Council leader in Palu, central Sulawesi, calls for fines of up to US$ 1,500 for married women who post pictures of themselves online. “Provocative” pictures endanger marriages and are an insult to husbands. In Islam, a woman’s beauty “belongs” to her husband.
Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Married women should not post their pictures on social media like Facebook, Instagram, Path, etc., and if they, they should be fined 20 million Indonesian rupees (just over US$ 1,500), this according to the Palu chapter of the Indonesian Muslim Clerics Council (Majlis Ulama Indonesia, MUI)
The MUI in Palu, Central Sulawesi province, is already notorious for other controversial edicts (fatwas). Palu MUI president Zainal Abidin said that personal pictures, selfies and "provocative" photos posted on social media by married women can only endanger their morality, children and families. Over time, this will have “a more negative impact,” he claimed.
For Abidin, women who deliberately post “alluring” pictures, or photos that show their beauty will have negative impact not only on their family, but also society as a whole.
Husbands will feel offended by such “bad behavior." There is also a danger that people – friends, acquaintances or even strangers – will feel entitled to express an opinion about the pictures.
"The point is that more and more married women might enjoy positive fan comments and this could get to their head,” the Muslim cleric explained.
In Islam, a married woman’s physical beauty and sex appeal "belong only to her husband," he noted. It is not good for a "woman to advertise" her features or attractiveness, especially on social media.
In view of this, Abidin issued a warning to wives that they behave appropriately and dress in public responsibly. Women, he believes, “are born for their husbands, not for public consumption”.
According to government sources, 64 million Indonesians (out of 250 million) are Internet users. Of those, about 93 per cent are aficionados of social media.
Indonesia is the fourth country in the world in terms of Facebook accounts after the US, Brazil and India. At least 35 million use it regularly every day.
When it comes to Twitter, it is ranked fifth. About 700,000 use Path. Ten million use Line, four million use Google+, and a million have a LinkedIn account.
In recent years, the authorities in Indonesia – the most populous Muslim nation in the world – have given in on several occasions to MUI pressures. The latter acts as the country’s moral watchdog.
In Aceh, a province governed by Sharia, women cannot wear tight pants or miniskirts.
In March 2011, MUI lashed out against flag-raising "because Muhammad never did it".
On previous occasions, it launched anathemas against the popular social network Facebook because of its “amorality”, but also against yoga, smoking and voting rights, especially for women.