Whether barongsai Chinese lion dancing is banned in Aceh, or just a misunderstanding.
In what seems a similar case to that in Pontianak, West Kalimantan, last year, it has been claimed that the staging of Chinese barongsai dances has again been prohibited in Indonesia, this time in another backwater province, Aceh, where Islamic sharia law is gradually being introduced.
Performance of Barongsai at Pondok Indah Mall, Jakarta.
Chinese residents of Aceh had planned to join in joint prayers to commemorate the five years since the Asian tsunami by holding barongsai lion dancing performances, however a spokesman for a Buddhist association in the capital Banda Aceh, Yuswar, said on 21st December that the Aceh Department of Religion would not allow barongsai performances in the province: tempo
We are disappointed by this restriction, because the Barongsai is just a cultural attraction, not a religious one.
Yuswar said that permission to hold a barongsai parade through central Banda Aceh had been denied by the police and Religion Department, with the reason that conditions were not right for such a thing.
However in a press release of 23rd December an official of the Department of Religion in Aceh denied any ban existed.
It's not true, there is no ban.
The official, Juniazi, said he had already requested that the Buddhist association withdraw its claims that barongsai was banned in the province, and that the Buddhists had complied and admitted that they had misunderstood the situation: detik
We hope now that they have clarified things that this discussion over barongsai will cease forthwith.