Radical Islamists Demand Ban on Famed Indonesian Dance Music Festival

Garuda Land, the main stage of Djakarta Warehouse Project
Wikipedia/Ismaya Live

Hardline Islamists in Indonesia signaled they will keep trying to ban one of Asia’s biggest annual dance music festivals, the Djakarta Warehouse Project (DWP), because it brings “immorality” into the capital city (whose name is more commonly spelled “Jakarta” outside of Indonesia) and violates Islamic law.

The DWP is an electronic dance music (EDM) festival lasting a full weekend that is generally held in Indonesia. Last year’s installment was considered the official tenth-anniversary celebration and was held in Bali. The event attracts both international guests and performers.

The 2019 edition ran from December 13 to 15, despite efforts by Islamist groups to shut it down.

Coconuts Indonesia on Thursday said:

“There was alcohol, condoms, and a few other things. The objects are with us,” [Islamic Defenders Front (FPI)] Secretary General Munarman told Detik today.

“FPI and several ulemas met with the Jakarta governor on Tuesday, and we showed the evidence of the haram (forbidden by consumption or use by Muslims) goods that were sold at the DWP venue.”

Munarman added that FPI have asked Anies to ban DWP and other events that promoted “hedonism and morality” from taking place in Jakarta in the future.

Neither [Jakarta governor] Anies nor Ismaya Live, the festival’s promoter, have issued any public statements in response to FPI’s demand.

Various activist groups have been trying to shut the DWP down for years. In 2017 an obscure group called the Student and Youth Caring for the Nation Movement appeared at Jakarta City Hall and tried to pressure Governor Anies Baswedan to cancel the permits for the festival.

Making much the same argument as the Islamic Defenders Front would go on to make in 2019 when the bacchanal returned from Bali, the group stated:

Activities such as dancing, stomping one’s feet, raising your hands, and wiggling your body in a mini-dress, plus drinking alcohol with disc jockeys, makes this an alcohol party for the youth, and it is clear that indigenous Eastern values and Indonesian civilization are being eroded from Indonesian culture. Therefore foreign culture must be resisted because it can damage the morality of the young generation.

“Oh, DWP. My son usually goes there,” Vice Governor Sandiaga Uno replied on behalf of the administration.

Uno went on to note that the festival brings in a great deal of tourist money for Jakarta and should be seen as an opportunity to promote Indonesian culture, which contrary to the complaint by the student group includes a good deal of dancing, foot-stomping, hand raising, and body wriggling.

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