Last night I posted a news video about the Sharia police of Banda Aceh in Indonesia, who enforce recently-enacted laws against immoral and lewd behavior.
Today comes a report about a new fatwa announcing even stricter rules against un-Islamic behavior, particularly by young unmarried women. Beware of the haram perm!
According to Asia News:
East Java: Fatwa Against Fancy Women’s Hairdos and Pre-Marital Photos
Fancy perms and photo albums made before marriage are ‘haram’, i.e. contrary to Islamic religion and morality. Two East Java educational institutions issue the ruling in order to preserve the “purity” of customs. Indonesia’s Ulema Council describes the fatwa as “exaggerated”.
Jakarta (AsiaNews) — Wearing elaborate hairdos and being photographed before one’s wedding are haram, against the Islamic religion and morality. Two all-female educational institutions (pesantren) issued a fatwa to that effect. In doing so, they add more fuel to an already heated debate over bans. In fact, a ban has been imposed on smoking in public places and on women wearing tight jeans or travelling on motorbikes.
The controversial ruling on women’s hairdos comes from the All-Girl Islamic Educational Institutions Forum of East Java Province. Fussing over one’s hair, getting a perm, having one’s hair curled too much or coloured are deemed “morally illicit” and contrary to the principles of Islam.
The “All-Girl Islamic Educational Institutions Forum” is intriguing. As far as I can determine, the only mention of the organization (in English) is in this article. Even leaving off “All-Girl” from the front of the name, “Islamic Educational Institutions Forum” is not mentioned anywhere else. I’d be interested to learn more about it.
As the Ulema Council mentions later in the article, this is a bizarre ruling, because it is applying strict rules to young women who don’t even wear the veil. Why didn’t the fatwa simply mandate veiling, and make the other requirements moot? Very strange.
Then there is the matter of photography:
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Premarital photos are also condemned as haram because they favour “extra-marital relations”, and give photographers the opportunity to retouch female bodies to show them in storefronts in order to “attract new customers”.
Allah forbid that photographers should ever attract more customers!
The fatwa was issued during 12th Female Bahtsul Masail Forum held at the Lirboyo pesantren in Kediri (East Java). Its purpose, activists believe, is to preserve the “purity” of marriage between bride and groom by helping them avoid morally unacceptable behaviour.
Iswatun Hasanah, who chairs the forum, said that the ruling was “to prevent extra-marital relations” before the marriage, and applies to bride and groom, photographers, clothes designers and make-up artists. Physical contacts during photo shoots, kissing on the lips, walking hand in hand are unacceptable behaviours because” the people involved “are not yet married.”
Photographers are guilty of accentuating the “sensuality” of their subjects and of manipulating the pictures shown in public in order to attract new customers.
In the last few years, thousands of couples have had photo albums about themselves made and handed them out to family and friends on their wedding day. This has generated business worth millions of rupees and attracted a growing number of customers.
Indonesia’s Ulema Council (MUI) has reacted to the fatwa by downplaying the whole matter.
MUI leader Cholil Ridwan said that the fatwa against hairdos is exaggerated, especially since it is addressed to women who do not wear the jilbab or Islamic headscarf.
All this reminds me of a scene in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum in which the battleaxe Domina discovers that a bordello has set up operations next door to her house. She expresses her disapproval to her husband, Senex:
Domina: A common flesh-peddler in the house next to ours, disgusting! Senex: Disgraceful! All that revolting flesh! (eyes lighting up) Just next door…
Hat tip: C. Cantoni.