Thursday, April 13, 2006

Why isn't Playboy welcome in Indonesia?

Indonesians Attack Playboy Offices

JAKARTA, April 12, 2006
( & News Agencies) - Hundreds of angry Indonesians attacked the offices of the newly-published Indonesian edition of Playboy magazine.
About 300 protesters from the Islamic Defenders' Front (FPI) rallied outside the building to demand that the local version of the magazine, which carries no nude photos, cease publication, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Clad in white shirts and skull caps the protesters threw rocks at the front lobby, breaking the windows of the building in the south of Jakarta several days after the magazine hit news-stands for the first time.
Shouting "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greatest), the protesters also ripped apart several copies of the Indonesian Playboy, according to Reuters)
The first edition of Playboy Indonesia hit news stands Friday, April 7, with pictures inside showing less skin than the magazine's 20 editions worldwide.
The first edition further carried an interview with Pramoedya Ananta Toer, Indonesia's most prominent intellectual and author, as well as a lengthy article on reconciliation between Indonesia and East Timor, which broke away from Jakarta in 1999.
"We will carry out more attacks if Playboy refuses to stop publishing," Salim Ali Hamid, one of the leaders of the group, told Elshinta radio, according to AFP.
The group earlier Wednesday protested the publication of the magazine at national police headquarters in South Jakarta.
The first edition was quickly snapped out. Copies later changed hands at more than three times the cover price of 39,000 rupiah (4.33 dollars).
It features pictures of underwear-clad women and is no racier than local editions of British men's magazines FHM and Maxim already on sale in Jakarta.
But Chamammah Soeratno, head of the women's wing of major Muslim group Muhammadiyah, told Reuters Friday that "Everyone knows it's a pornographic magazine. The first edition may not have any nudity. That's a very clever move by the publishers."
Most of Indonesia's Muslims, who make up around 85 percent of the population of 220 million, practice a moderate and tolerant form of the religion.
Police Dilemma
FPI protesters vow to carry out more attacks if Playboy refuses to stop publishing. (Reuters)
One of some 90 policemen guarding the building was injured but most of the magazine's employees had left the offices when the attack happened.
There were no immediate reports of arrests but witnesses said some police chased stone-throwers.
A police spokesman in Jakarta told Al-Arabiya Satellite TV Wednesday that the situation was really hard to control.
"We urged the publishers not to go on with their plans (to issue the magazine) but they won't listen. They (publishers) do have a license, but the people are angry and we (police) are facing a problem."
But South Jakarta police chief Wiliardi Wizard told Reuters he would question the leader of the group in relation to the incident and detain the perpetrators.
"If they can hand over the perpetrators then that's good. Otherwise we'll have to hunt them," he said.
FPI activists, known for attacking nightspots during anti-vice raids, believe that Playboy is synonymous with pornography and is not fit for publication in the world's most populous Muslim country.
Islamic leaders said earlier this year when plans for Playboy's debut were announced that the magazine would corrupt a culture already inundated by Western influences.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono weighed into the debate in February to question the magazine's benefit to Indonesia.