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Indonesian minister calls for Miss World to be cancelled

Indonesia's religious affairs minister has called for the Miss World beauty pageant to be cancelled, as opposition in the Muslim-majority country mounts the week before the contest opens in Bali. Suryadharma Ali said that the organisers should follow the advice of the nation's top Islamic clerical body, which last week called for the contest to be scrapped even after organisers agreed to axe the bikini round.

Indonesia faces booze sale ban after hardline court win

Sales and distribution of alcohol could be banned in some parts of Indonesia after Muslim hardliners won a Supreme Court victory, an official said Friday. While it is the world's most populous Muslim-majority country, the sale of alcohol for the small number who drink and tourists has until now been allowed. Some local authorities, where Islamic hardliners are influential, introduced bylaws banning the sale and distribution of alcohol.

Indonesia teens accused of blasphemy over Maroon 5 dance

Five Indonesian teenage girls have been accused of blasphemy and may face jail after making a video in which they mixed Islamic prayer with dancing to a Maroon 5 song, police said Tuesday. The girls were expelled from their high school in Tolitoli city, on Sulawesi island, and reported to police after the video of their dance to the US band's hit "One More Night" went viral online.

Ahmadiyah sect under siege in Indonesia

A group of minority Ahmadiyah Muslims have been holed up in an Indonesian mosque since authorities shuttered it earlier this month, in a stand-off that starkly illustrates the religious intolerance sweeping the country. The men were praying at the mosque in Bekasi, west of Jakarta, when scores of police burst in and surrounded it with corrugated iron fencing, brandishing a decree that bans the minority from spreading its religious beliefs.

Indonesia shuts down Ahmadiyah mosque

Indonesian authorities on Thursday shut down a mosque of the minority Muslim Ahmadiyah sect, in the latest sign of growing religious intolerance in the country. Dozens of followers of the sect scuffled with officials putting up a fence around the Al-Misbah mosque on the outskirts of Jakarta to stop worshippers from using it, an AFP correspondent said. "There is no freedom of religion in this country. May God give us strength to face this sad situation," said Rochim, a 65-year-old Ahmadiyah follower, as the mosque was closed off.

Promoters sue over cancelled Gaga Indonesia show

Concert promoters are suing insurers in the United States for breach of contract over an Indonesian concert by Lady Gaga canceled last year due to a threat by Islamic hardliners. The lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles by Live Nation LGTours, Mermaid Touring and The Atom Factory against three Lloyds of London insurance syndicates, claiming at least $75,000 in damages, according to documents published Tuesday.

Indonesia conservatives protest against Valentine's Day

Islamic conservatives in Indonesia, the world's biggest Muslim-populated nation, voiced opposition to Thursday's Valentine's Day celebrations, saying they promote teen "sex parties" and premarital sex. After the deputy mayor in the conservative city of Depok on Jakarta's outskirts urged parents to stop their children from celebrating, local religious leaders voiced support. "We don't want to completely ban Valentine's Day but it's not for teenagers," Depok secretary of the country's largest Muslim organisation Nahdlatul Ulama, Raden Salamun Adiningrat, told AFP.
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