It’s a Tale of Two Acehs for 2 Events

Banda Aceh, TAG –  Arab movies good. Punk rock bad. That was the message from the staunchly Islamic province of Aceh, where authorities in the capital scrapped a scheduled punk rock concert but allowed a film festival screening Arabic movies to go ahead as planned.
Illiza Sa’aduddin Djamal, the deputy mayor of Banda Aceh, said on Sunday that the reason the concert was canceled was because the organizers had “fooled” the authorities into granting them a permit to hold the event.
“The concert would have been an abomination to Islamic teaching, and they also committed a permit violation,” she said.
Illiza alleged that the concert organizers falsely claimed in their request for a permit from Aceh’s Consultative Assembly of Ulema (MPU) that the concert was a charity event whose proceeds would go to orphanages.
The deputy mayor did not say how or whether the authorities had even been able to disprove the claim.
“We don’t want this kind of mistake happening again. We also call on parents to monitor their children to prevent them from being influenced by these questionable communities,” she said as quoted by Antara news agency.
“This [punk] group threatens [Islamic] faith and deviates very widely from Islamic teachings, which is why we had to break up the concert.”
People had come from as far as Jakarta and West Java for the event. They were rounded up and arrested on Saturday night as they gathered at Taman Budaya park ahead of the scheduled start of the concert.
Sr. Comr. Armensyah Thay, the Banda Aceh Police chief, said the young people would be duly processed and those found in possession of drugs would be charged.
It was a whole different story, however, for the Arab Film Festival, which took place at Ulee Kareng Epicentrum in the capital.
Authorities in Aceh have frequently been criticized for trying to impose Arabic cultural values there, although organizers of the film festival said their event was meant to do the opposite.
Fauzan Santa, rector of the Dokarim Writing School, which organized the festival, said the purpose was to spark a revival of Acehnese culture by showing how far removed it was from Arabic culture.
This, he said, was seen in the festival’s slogan, “Sinoe Aceh sideh Arab, sinoe sideh hana rab,” an Acehnese saying that translates to “Here is Aceh, there is Arabia, here and there are far apart.”
“This film festival isn’t just about entertainment, but through it we hope the people can distinguish between culture and religion,” Fauzan said.
“For so long the Acehnese have assumed that Arabic culture is Islamic culture, when in fact it’s just the culture of one particular group of people.
“Arabic culture is not Islamic culture because the latter is universal. Aceh has its own culture, so let’s not get caught up in adopting Shariah law and stop assuming that everything that comes from Arabic culture is Islamic and hence has to be done here too.”[]
It’s a Tale of Two Acehs for 2 Events It’s a Tale of Two Acehs for 2 Events Reviewed by Nurdin Hasan on December 13, 2011 Rating: 5

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