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In Aceh, New Year's revelry is anti-Islam

Fireworks, trumpets and concerts all banned in Indonesia's Shariah law province
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An Acehnese young boy puts paper flowers into the ground, provided by Japanese people from Kobe as part of the 6th earthquake and tsunami anniversary in Banda Aceh on December 25, 2010. (CHAIDEER MAHYUDIN/AFP/Getty Images)

Forget champagne.

New Year's Eve fireworks displays or even trumpet music are morally degenerate means of ushering in 2012, according to officials in Indonesia's strictly Islamic Aceh province.

How should the Acehnese celebrate? They shouldn't, provincial headmen proclaimed, according to the Jakarta Post. Concerts, fireworks and the blowing of trumpets were all officially banned during celebrations in Aceh.

The Acehnese people would be better off "staying at home, reciting the Koran and praying for betterment next year,” an official told the newspaper.

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A girl who was swept away in the Indian Ocean tsunami seven years ago broke down into tears after she tracked down her parents in Aceh.

Aceh Muslims agree: shave the punks

Locals support anti-punk rock codes in Shariah-law province
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Boeloek, a Street Punk rock band, practices in a rental studio, Banda Aceh, Aceh Province, Indonesia. (Fauzan Ijazah/GlobalPost)

The embattled punk rockers of Indoniesia's Muslim-majority Aceh province may get love in San Francisco, where a small group of fellow punks recently rallied in front of the Indonesian embassy.

But their Muslim kin in their tropical, Shariah-law region appear to be siding with the punks' sworn foes: morality cops who shave their mohawks and detain them for 10 days of "re-education."

According to the Jakarta Post, community leaders now want a law to "outlaw the punk lifestyle." (It should come as no suprise that the Islamic Defenders' Front -- a Muslim vigilante group profiled by Global Post last year -- is among them.)

And what of complaints that these crackdowns violate the punk rockers' human rights?

A Muslim students' leader offered this rebuttal to the Jakarta Globe:

“In a number of Western countries, Muslims are not allowed to wear the veil. Is that not a human rights violation?”

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Indonesia police shave punks to 'restore morals'

Police in Aceh state, Indonesia, forcibly shaved and bathed more than 60 people arrested at a concert for the supposed offense of being "punks."
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An Acehnese punker with Mohawk hairstyle in Banda Aceh, Aceh Province, Indonesia. (Fauzan Ijazah/GlobalPost)

Some 64 Indonesians have been given an unwanted make-over as part of the authorities' treatment for a "new social disease": punk rock.

The punks, ranging from teenagers to people in their 30s, were arrested at a charity concert last weekend in the town of Banda Aceh, in the country's conservative Aceh state, the Jakarta Globe reported.

They were taken to a police school Tuesday for a forcible "re-education."

State police chief Iskandar Hasan told the Globe what that would involve:

"There will be a traditional ceremony. First their hair will be cut. Then they will be tossed into a pool. The women’s hair we’ll cut in the fashion of a female police officer. Then we’ll teach them a lesson.

"We’ll change their disgusting clothes. We’ll replace them with nice clothes. We’ll give them toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, sandals and prayer gear."

The punks—who have not been charged with any crime—were to be held at the facility for a further 10 days for "rehabilitation" and religious training, according to Hasan.

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How to reform an Aceh punk

Police round up up Shariah-law province's punk rockers for moral reform
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Juanda a.k.a Lowbatt, a punk member, pratices with his street punk rock band called Boeloek. (Fauzan Ijazah/GlobalPost)

In Aceh, a fundamentalist Islamic province in Indonesia, canoodling with your girlfriend can lead to public canings.

So you can imagine how the cops feel about punk rock teenagers with tangerine-colored mohawks.

Police have rounded up more than 60 Aceh punk rockers for moral reform, according to the Jakarta Globe. This is how one police chief described the punks' "re-education" to the media outlet.

"First their hair will be cut. Then they will be tossed into a pool. The women’s hair we’ll cut in the fashion of a female police officer ... we’ll change their disgusting clothes. We’ll replace them with nice clothes. We’ll give them toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, sandals and prayer gear."

Global Post caught up with the Aceh punks for this photo series "Punks Fight Law and Law Wins" back in June.

Sounds like the law is still winning.

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Punks Fight Law and Law Wins

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia — Since its birth in the 1970s, punk culture has spread to every corner of the world, including this far-flung and religiously devout provincial capital in Indonesia. Growing up as a punk kid in Banda Aceh is not easy. In a city governed by Sharia, or Islamic, law, 20-year-old Sandi, who is known by his friends as Scooby, is not as lucky as his punk brothers in other parts of Indonesia. In the capital city of Jakarta, where the punk community is large and vibrant, punks are often more free to express their identity, style and ideas.

Indonesia: lessons from Aceh

JAKARTA — As Japan assesses the damage from the recent earthquake and tsunami, experts say Aceh may hold insight into psychological recovery.
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