Monday, March 18

As Ramadan approaches, Islamic radicals demand nightlife close


SAMARINDA, EAST KALIMANTAN: As the month of Ramadan approaches, hard-line Islamist groups are demanding that authorities close night spots and brothels, as reported by Antara News, quoted by Jakarta Globe.

The extremist Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) continues to threaten to close business by force if they remain open during the holy month.

In Makassar, FPI members paraded around the city on Friday and Saturday to make sure that owners of night clubs, brothels and restaurants get the message.

The group, the self-appointed guardian of Indonesia’s morals that is not above using violence to get its way, has tried to ban food hawkers and restaurants from working during daylight hours.

“Everything must close without exception,” Abdurrahman, the chairman of the FPI’s South Sulawesi branch, on Sunday. “Closing the front doors while still letting people in is unacceptable,”

Abdurrahman warned all nightlife spots to comply with a bylaw which instructs all such locations to halt their business activities from the three days prior to Ramadan until three days after the end of the holy month.

The FPI also warned women to wear modest clothing to prevent people from “having perverse thoughts.”

“This edict is conveyed to respect the holy month of Ramadan and the people who are fasting,” Abdurrahman said.

Idrus Algadri, the chairman of the FPI’s Depok branch, also threatened to raid nightlife spots if they remain opened during the month.

“Hopefully there’s security, peace and order during the holy month so that Muslims can focus on their fasting,” Idrus said, according to state news agency Antara.

Meanwhile, around 35 neighborhood watch groups in Samarinda, East Kalimantan, urged the local administration to close the Suka Damai and Lo Hui red-light districts before Ramadan and keep them closed permanently.

Zaini Naim, the chairman of Indonesian Council of Ulema’s (MUI) Samarinda chapter, claimed that all local residents, public figures and youth representatives had signed a petition for the closing of the red-light districts and had sent the petition to the East Kalimantan Police, provincial administration and to the Samarinda municipal administration.

The petition calls for the closure of the brothels that have been around since 1991, claiming that the local population has spread into the part of the community where the red-light district is located.

Zaini said that there were Islamic schools, a polytechnic institute and a cemetery in the area. The brothels are giving a negative image for the people living in the areas, he claimed.

“What’s more concerning is the high HIV/AIDS rate in Samarinda,” Zaini said. “One of the [contributing factors]is the prostitution areas. The residents have threatened to block access to the brothels if the government or law enforcers failed to respond to their demand.”

Residents asked the government to close the areas two years ago, but the government said a study needed to be done.