Banda Aceh. Several Shariah police officers were injured in the early hours of Monday morning after more than a hundred youths attacked them while they were trying to disperse live-music performances in the Aceh town of Langsa.
"Most of the audience, there were around 100 of them, were drunk. I and members of the WH [Wilayatul Hisbah - Shariah Police] climbed the stage and asked them to disperse," said Ibrahim Latif, the head of Langsa Islamic Shariah Agency.Ibrahim said the incident took place when about 15 Shariah police officers were trying to disperse three keyboard performances in three different villages in Langsa that went on from Sunday evening through early Monday morning.
They managed to disperse the crowds at concert venues in Geudeubang and Pondok Keumuning villages. As they moved to Karang Anyar village, however, about 100 members of the audience took violent objection to being asked to move on.
"They turned off the lights and began attacking us in the dark instead," Ibrahim said. "They beat us... Our members couldn't do much because we were smaller in number."
Local police then came to the Shariah officers' aid, he added.
Ibrahim said he would file a report to the police in order to have the perpetrators charged.
"We don't have the power to arrest them," he said. "We're not armed."
Ibrahim cited a local decree that prohibited performances of live music after 6 p.m.
"There's no problem if the keyboard concerts are held in daylight, because we would be able to control the events to make sure there would be no khalwat and parties with alcohol," Ibrahim said.
Khalwat is the term used to describe an unrelated or unmarried man and woman in a room together. It is considered forbidden under Islamic Shariah law. Its enforcement occupies the lion's share of the WH's day job. Ibrahim added that he was also mindful that clothing perceived to be provocative was occasionally on display at live-music performances.
"Despite the resistance, we will keep trying to disperse keyboard performances held at night," Ibrahim said.