Is Islam Bad for Tourism?

Sep 7th, 2006, in Society, Travel, by

Attempting to forbid sinful activities, such as drinking, harms the growth of tourism in Muslim areas.

Luthfi Assyaukanie mentions the success of Hindu dominated Bali in developing a thriving tourist industry, and compares it with the lack of such success of the Muslim dominated Ternate and Tidore islands in North Maluku, and also Lombok, both places being able to lay claim to having many of the tropical charms that normally would see sun-seeking foreigners with too much spare time on their hands beating a path to their doors, bringing along with them lots of money.

Not only beachside attractions distinguish Lombok and Ternate-Tidore but they are also places full of history. Interestingly, Lombok, like Bali, was once an important centre of Hindu learning and culture. While Bali held on to its Hindu heritage, and thrived, Lombok abandoned it in favour of Islam, and did not prosper, in terms of the travel industry at any rate.

Ternate and Tidore, in the Moluccas, near the island of Halmahera, have not succeeded at all in the tourism area, says Luthfi, while Lombok’s limited success can be put down to its proximity to Bali – it has merely taken the “overflow” from the Island of the Gods and cannot take any credit for having done so.

Foreign tourists like to drink alcohol, says Luthfi. But on the little islands of Ternate and Tidore there are few places, if any, where degenerate westerners can indulge their weakness for the demon drink, or get “hammered”, in colloquial terms. Luthfi met with some people on the islands, people who all said, when asked, that they would welcome the development of a tourist industry. But, when asked about the existence of “cafes” or bars they said that such places as had existed had all been shut down by the local branch of the FPI (Front Pembela Islam). One person said:

There used to some [cafes and bars] but they were all torn down. Recently one has opened but they [the owners] are still afraid to operate.
(dulu ada, tapi semuanya sudah dihancurkan. Baru-baru ini ada satu kafe didirikan, tapi masih takut beroperasi.)

Luthfi, in Islam, Turisme, dan Toleransi, says the citizens of Ternate, Tidore, and Lombok, and other Muslim areas that would like to build a tourist industry, should learn from the tolerant attitude of the Balinese, that is, that in order to enjoy the benefits of tourism the various consequences have also to be accepted.

61 Comments on “Is Islam Bad for Tourism?”

  1. Mohammed Khafi says:

    Morocco, Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey, Jordan, Syria, Oman, Qatar, Lebanon, Pakistan and Malaysia are all majority Islamic countries and all have tourists. Perhaps it is something more basic than Islam which is frightening off the visitors?

    All of them apart from Malaysia, Oman and Qatar have suffered some form of extremist violence, but the visitors keep going. Perhaps the visitors go to the countries which give the impression of being serious about fighting intolerance and violence?

  2. Fanglong says:

    There are many kinds of tourism & tourists. Some might feel oppressed in Dubai, some in Lombok, for reasons opposed, but for the same kind of… I wonder…

  3. Matthew says:

    Alcohol is freely available in all, or most, of those countries.

  4. Indcoup says:

    Why is drinking sinful?

  5. Hassan says:

    Perhaps it’s not about religion at all. perhaps they just doesn’t like our tourist attractions, or they doesn’t like our poor discipline, our dirty streets, our poor hotels and services, our high crime rates?

    Why is it always Islam this and Islam that? Why does even such a small thing like tourism had to be related to Islam? C’mon give me a break.

    Next you’re gonna relate tourists’ mood or weather to Islam.

  6. Molisan Tono says:

    Hassan, you forgot to mentioned hypocracy, poor hospitality and corruptions.

    Don’t you ring a bell Hassan? This is Moslem country, the BIGGEST Moslem country in the world, so now ask yourself why Islam this and Islam that? Isn’t it that your party that claimed this is Islam country? So if it’s not Islam this and Islam that, who then?

    You sounds like my 11 months son talking, mumbling and hoping people to understand you mate?

    Why you never heard Hindu in Bali complaining nudity on beach? They never had a problem with that, it’s all about Islam agenda, they had problem with tit’s and nudity. Can’t have it so we forbid it.

  7. Magy says:

    I personally don’t think religion has so much to do with it.

    What do tourists want first?

    Obviously safety.

    Is RI safe? If and when you can answer yes to this question you can go on and ask what other circumstances will lure tourists.

    RI has potential since there are plenty of kind and friendly people, a beutiful nature and beaches in many places and low prices.

    But safety first – and in my view Ri is unfortunately not safe. So I guess you can say that religion matters in a way – religiuos fanatism has destroied the possibility for millions of people to live better and richer lives and get out of poverty. Tens of billions of USD worth of tourism and relations with foreigners are being lost and RI get more isolated and put off the radar of many tourists and investors.

    So in a way religion matters, after all, but in a strange way, and not the religion itself more the extrem interpretations of it.

    Most Muslims in RI want to be on the train for increasing prosperity that are increasingly evolving around us – in China, India, etc. 50 million people every year are leaving poverty – people in RI want that too.

    The touris industry could have been an essential part of that. Sad to see a few destroy for so many.

  8. Andrew says:

    I believe the root of the issue is not the religion, but the fact that certain terrorist groups use Islam as an excuse to attack.

    However, we have to understand that it is difficult – if not impossible – for people who don’t have previous exposure to Islam (e.g. friends, society, etc.) to dissociate Islam from Osama. Their first exposure to Islam is thru the 9/11 incident. “First cut is the deepest” – Rod Stewart.

    Sadly, there are still a lot of Moslems who don’t draw the line.
    Those that are concerned with upholding the truth should work together in rectifying the misunderstanding.

  9. Ron B says:

    This is an interesting point of view but I have two questions:
    1. Why only mention Bali, Lombok and Ternate/Tidore? Could we add Batam, for example to the analysis?
    2. Is easy acces for international visitors a more important factor? Bali has the international airport, Lombok visitors can go via Bali, Batam is very close to Singapore airport. Is access to Ternat/Tidore the problem?

  10. Mohammed Khafi says:

    I would think that most visitors to Batam are single males from Singapore, they are certainly not going there for the culture and history. Have you been to Batam recently?, massage parlours, karaoke bars and nightclubs outnumber the golf courses and family resorts by far.

  11. Fanglong says:

    Drinking is sinful because a holy man said it.
    Drinking is not sinful because another holy man said it.
    Both holy men are right : they must have spoken according to circumstances.
    Wisemen should know that relative truths are relatively true and absolute truth goes far beyond our intellectual capacities.

  12. Molisan Tono says:

    I lived in Batam before, and still hold Batam ID, khafi is right. Batam can not be used as barometer for tourism. Batam just like another face of cheap prostitute site for Singapore males.

    Why we use or mentioned Bali first? Bali is top rated devisa source for this country. So, it’s worth to be a standard barometer.

    Ron B, if you put Batam as option, tourist would rather go to Singapore than Batam, Batam right now is better for investment, not tourism. Beside that, what kind of tourism you would like to offer for tourist? I don’t see much aspect Batam has, believe me. You should follow khafi’s advice, try to fly to Batam, before you land at the airport, look out the window, and tell us what you see, all spoiled beach.

  13. Bradlymail says:

    Do not get wrong impression on Batam. I have another house at Perumahan Sukajadi in Batam and owner of Travel Agency in Batam. Nowdays so many tourists from Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia etc., come to Batam through Singapore. Most of the tourists are enjoying their visits here, goods, foods, hotels are relatively cheap. In economic term is very good for Batam and it’s people. Another 2 or 3 years, Batam will become Industrial Island-where the factories in Singapore will be shifted in Batam. There will be a lot of works for local people. Since Sutanto takes over as Head of Police, gambling was banned. Night entertaiments is under controlled by Batam authority.

  14. Hassan says:

    No tono, Indonesia is NOT an Islamic country (as you always insisted on). This is a country with Islamic majority but NOT an Islamic country. Islamic country practices the sharia, and we don’t. This is a secular country, so now, blame the secularism instead of the major religion, smart alec.

    Islam in Indonesia is a majority without power. Those smarty pants in the government? They are Muslims, but they represent secularism, not Islam the religion.

    So, if Indonesia and it’s Muslim practices the sharia and things like this happens, you can blame Islam. Otherwise, stop your rhetorics.


    And I don’t ring any bells, I’m not a bell boy or anything. )

  15. Bradlymail says:

    Anyway, I agree with you Pak Hasan!

  16. Bas says:

    No Hassan. Indonesia (well most of it) IS an Islamic country in facts. I can feel it every day in almost every aspect of my everyday life and each time I have a conversation with a Muslim in this country. And I have had many conversation since 1993, the year I moved in Indonesia.

    Indonesia is a “secular country”

    Never heard such a funny thing in my all life. A pure intellectual production of the high quality Indonesian education. OK… Indonesia is a secular and democratic paradise with very nice smilling people.

    “Islam in Indonesia is a majority without power.”

    Poor Indonesian Muslims who have no power. The power is probably in the hand of the Hindous, or maybe the communists? I must have been fooled by the thousands of new mosques, the Islamics programs on TV and the growing number of women wearing jilbab.

    “if Indonesia and it’s Muslim practices the sharia and things like this happens, you can blame Islam. otherwise, stop your rhetorics.”

    Sharia is nothing compared to what I see in Indonesia man.

    “Things like this happens” already happens dear Hassan (nice name my friend!). Open your eyes (well, sorry, you can’t). Just an example: 3 years ago I’ve almost been killed because I was watching TV at 6 PM with my fiancée. My crime was the door of my own house was closed. No FPI involved man. Just nice neighbours. Common people. Just like you.

    The truth is most of Indonesian Muslims are totally intolerant and feel just better than other people. Why do other religion people always have to become Muslim to marry a Muslim? What a shame. Most westerners cannot see the real face of Indonesian Muslims because extremism is well hidden behind hypocrisy and false hospitality. In Indonesia ordinary people are the real threat because politician have to please them. Not the bombers. In a way I respect more terrorists than the Muslim I meet every day because, at least, terrorists have the courage to act and to show who they really are. They die for their stupid ideas and they show us the real face of Islam in Indonesia. It’s a good thing. Most of Muslims in Indonesia share exactly the same backward religious vision. Fortunately most of them are not criminals, at least until they get a chance to spit their venom safely, which often happens in this sweet secular paradise.

  17. Molisan Tono says:

    Ouch… that’s painful. Thanks Bas, that hurts my ears…. hahaha.

  18. Molisan Tono says:

    Hassan Says:
    September 13th, 2006 at 9:20 pm

    No tono, Indonesia is NOT an Islamic country (as you always insisted on). This is a country with Islamic majority but NOT an Islamic country.

    Your smart ass fellow outside there, specially those who got on TV always claimed that, not me lol.

    Blame the secular? I had that once, but I think most mouth came from Moslems, so I want to ask that question instead to secular. Why wash you hands if you can’t handle things you people has already started?

    Islam in Indonesia is a majority without power. those smarty pants in the government? they are Muslims, but they represent secularism, not Islam the religion.

    I think they have figure that sharia is just a bad idea, women loose their job, got circumsized, banned for night crawling (even they hungry), and slavery happen, maybe, who knows.

  19. Hassan says:


    “Indonesia is a “secular country”: Never heard such a funny thing in my all life”.

    Then get yourself educated. Secularism is the separation of the state and religion, is it not? The last time I checked, Indonesia’s ideology is pancasila, and not Islamic law. That means Indonesia is a secular country.

    “Islam in Indonesia is a majority without power.” means that although Islam is the majority in Indonesia, the laws applied here is a secular one, not an Islamic one. Means that an Islamic party never won any elections since our independence, as golkar, pdi-p, and partai demokrat were secular nationalist parties. Means that our leaders although Muslims, preferred to represent secularism instead of Islam.

    The rest of your statement sounded like you’re stereotyping people, shows that your an Islam hater and a die hard bigot. Having fun being a bigot?

    Try changing the subjects of the last paragraph from Indonesia and Muslims to Africa and black people for example. That will show your true color, a racist!

    The truth is most of the black people are totally intolerant and feel just better than other people. Most white people cannot see the real face of the blacks because extremism is well hidden behind hypocrisy and false hospitality. In Africa ordinary people are the real threat because politician have to please them. Not the bombers. In a way I respect more terrorists than the blacks I meet every day because, at least, terrorists have the courage to act and to show who they really are. They die for their stupid ideas and they show us the real face of their race in Africa. It’s a good thing. Most of blacks in Africa share exactly the same backward vision. Fortunately most of them are criminals, at least until they get a chance to spit their venom safely.

  20. Hassan says:


    your smart ass fellow outside there”¦ specially those who got on TV always claimed that, not me lol

    That’s what the FPI wanted to happen, but the fact is Indonesia is a country that separates the state and religion, that means secularism. lndonesia with sharia, that’s an Islamic country.

    “why wash you hands if you can’t handle things you people has already started?”

    Islam never handled anything in Indonesia. secular Muslims handled the government all this time, but not Islam the religion. Separate the religion and the followers now Tono.

    “I think they have figure that sharia is just a bad idea, women loose their job, got circumsized, banned for night crawling (even they hungry), and slavery happen”¦ maybe, who knows”¦”

    They didn’t figured anything, “they” are seculars who happens to be Muslims. True Muslims will without doubt accept sharia because it came from their God. Tell me, if a Christian didn’t obey the ten commandments which came from their god, can they be said to represent true Christianity?

  21. Bas says:

    No Hassan Indonesia is not a secular country since you Must choose a religion and since your religion is written in your ID.

    “the laws applied here is a secular one, not an Islamic one.”

    There is a gap between the theory of legal laws and the laws that are really apllied on the field lol Indonesian is everything but a country of laws! Don’t just hide behind the laws.

    Always the same lame excuses not to hear the reality:

    “You are “stereotyping” Indonesia people”.

    Read: “Don’t talk about Indonesian people anymore: What you say is wrong because we are not ALL like that”.

    I don’t care if only 75% or 90% of Indonesian people are the way I describe them. I know they’re not all like that. So what? I must wait 100% of them are the way I think they are to criticize you?

    You can’t accept criticise. That’s why you’re accusing me of being racist. No I am not racist. But I hate a large part of the Indonesian male society. Not because of the color of their skin but because they are stupid, arrogant , intolerant, they always tell me what I have to do and what I cannot do, what is allowed and what is not. They fell they are always right and never accept criticisme and bla bla bla.

    Talking about racism. Every day I am insulted in the street just because I am white. I get a special discount +20% because I am white. So please keep you racism for yourself and apply it for what you probably think of Borneo’s tribes or the people of Irian Jaya. That’s Racism Man. The Indonesian society is definitly racist. I am not. You’re trick on African people is pityful. Please don’t apply what I say about the Indonesian typical people to the people of Africa. It’s very insulting for them.

    Read the newspapers. Not a day without articles dealing with how lazy, corrupted, violent, not trusty, barbaric are Indonesian people (ok not 100% just a majority!). And it’s written by Indonesians. Sorry no Chinese to kill or FMI to accuse this time. They are still many Indonesian who share my views. These aware people thank me for saying what I say. They are ashamed for their country. They know what is introspection and accept the truth. Not everybody can, especially when a westerner like me open his mouth. I understand it but sorry Hassan I won’t stop to criticize “you” even if I know the way I do it is not the right one in your culture and even if I hurt you. I just don’t care just like you don’t care about me.

    I am the one who really love and care about Indonesia. Not you Hassan. You don’t help your country but doing what you do.

  22. Mohammed Khafi says:


    “true Muslims will without doubt accept sharia because it came from their God”

    No Hassan it is from the corrupted Sunnah and Hadith!

    At least you are right about the Ten Commandments they did come from God and are the same for all believers.

    Jewish Version:
    1 “I am the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of slavery. Thou shalt have no other gods before Me…”
    This commandment is to believe in the existence of God and His influence on events in the world, and that the goal of the redemption from Egypt was to become His servants (Rashi). It prohibits belief in or worship of any additional deities.
    2 “Do not make a sculpted image or any likeness of what is in the heavens above…”
    This prohibits the construction or fashioning of “idols” in the likeness of created things (beasts, fish, birds, people) and worshipping them.
    3 “Thou shalt not swear falsely by the name of the LORD…”
    This commandment is to never take the name of God in a vain, pointless or insincere oath (Rashi). This includes four types of prohibited oaths: an oath affirming as true a matter one knows to be false, an oath that affirms the patently obvious, an oath denying the truth of a matter one knows to be true, and an oath to perform an act that is beyond one’s capabilities[citation needed].
    4 “Remember [zachor] the Sabbath day and keep it holy” (the version in Deuteronomy reads shamor, “observe”)
    The seventh day of the week is termed Shabbat and is holy, just as God ceased creative activity during Creation. The aspect of zachor (remember) is performed by declaring the greatness of the day (kiddush), by having three festive meals and by engaging in Torah study and pleasurable activities. The aspect of shamor is performed by abstaining from productive activity (the 39 melachot, forbidden categories of work) on the Shabbat.
    5 “Thou shalt honor your father and your mother…”
    The obligation to honor one’s parents is an obligation that one owes to God and fulfills this obligation through one’s actions towards one’s parents.
    6 “Thou shalt not murder”
    Killing an innocent human being is a capital sin (Sefer ha-Chinuch).
    7 “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”
    Adultery is defined as sexual intercourse between a man and a married woman who is not his wife (Rashi).
    8 “Thou shalt not steal.”
    This is not understood as stealing in the conventional sense, since theft of property is forbidden elsewhere and is not a capital offense. In this context it is to be taken as “do not kidnap” (Rashi).
    9 “Thou shalt not bear false witness against your neighbor”
    One must not bear false witness in a court of law or other proceeding.
    10 “Thou shalt not covet your neighbor’s house…”
    One is forbidden to desire and plan how one may obtain that which God has given to another. Maimonides makes a distinction in codifying the laws between the instruction given here in Exodus (You shall not covet) and that given in Deuteronomy (You shall not desire), according to which one does not violate the Exodus commandment unless there is a physical action associated with the desire, even if this is legally purchasing an envied object.

    Christian/Catholic Version:
    1 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.”
    Catholic teaching distinguishes between dulia””paying honor to God through contemplation of objects such as paintings and statues””and latria””adoration directed to God alone. (See Catechism 2084-2141.)
    2 “You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.”
    This commandment prohibits not just swearing but the misappropriation of religious language in order to commit a crime, participating in occult practices, and blaspheming against places or people that are holy to God. (See Catechism 2142-2167.)
    3 “Observe the sabbath day and keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God; you shall not do any work””you, or your son or your daughter, or your male or female slave, or your ox or your donkey, or any of your livestock, or the resident alien in your towns, so that your male and female slave may rest as well as you. Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the sabbath day.”
    Most Christians refrain from work on Sunday instead of the actual sabbath, Saturday. This is because Jesus rose from the dead “on the first day of the week” (Matthew 28), making Sunday the Lord’s day. Some necessary work is permitted on this day of rest. (See Catechism 2168-2195.)
    4 “Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God commanded you, so that your days may be long and that it may go well with you in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.”
    This commandment emphasizes the family as part of God’s design, as well as an extended metaphor that God uses for his relationship with his creation. (See Catechism 2197-2257.)
    5 “You shall not murder.”
    The right of states to execute criminals is recognized when necessary to preserve the safety of citizens. However, other methods of protecting society (incarceration, rehabilitation) are increasingly available. Catholics (along with many Protestants) also consider abortion sinful and a violation of this commandment. War, if rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy are met (that is, the “use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated”), is not a violation because “governments cannot be denied the right of lawful self-defense, once all peace efforts have failed.” (See Catechism 2258-2330.)
    6 “Neither shall you commit adultery.”
    Adultery is the breaking of the holy bond between husband and wife, and is thus a sacrilege. This commandment includes not just the act of adultery, but lust as well. (See Catechism 2331-2400.)
    7 “Neither shall you steal.”
    (See Catechism 2401-2463.)
    8 “Neither shall you bear false witness against your neighbor.”
    This commandment forbids misrepresenting the truth in relations with others. This also forbids lying. (See Catechism 2464-2513.)
    9 “Neither shall you covet your neighbor’s wife.”
    (See Catechism 2514-2533.)
    10 “Neither shall you desire your neighbor’s house, or field, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

    And although it is not specifically mentioned in Al Quran all the commandments are repeated there:

    1 “There is no other god beside God.”(47:19)
    2 “My Lord, make this a peaceful land, and protect me and my children from worshiping idols.” (14:35)
    3 “Do not subject God’s name to your casual swearing, that you may appear righteous, pious, or to attain credibility among the people.” (2:224)
    4 “O you who believe, when the Congregational Prayer (Salat Al-Jumu`ah) is announced on Friday, you shall hasten to the commemoration of GOD, and drop all business.” (62:9)
    The Sabbath was relinquished with the revelation of the Quran. Muslims are told in the Quran that the Sabbath was only decreed for the Jews. (16:124) God, however, ordered Muslims to make every effort and drop all businesses to attend the congregational (Friday) prayer. The Submitters may tend to their business during the rest of the day.
    5 “….and your parents shall be honored. As long as one or both of them live, you shall never say to them, “Uff” (the slightest gesture of annoyance), nor shall you shout at them; you shall treat them amicably.” (17:23)
    6 “….anyone who murders any person who had not committed murder or horrendous crimes, it shall be as if he murdered all the people.” (5:32)
    7 “You shall not commit adultery; it is a gross sin, and an evil behavior.” (17:32)
    8 “The thief, male or female, you shall mark their hands as a punishment for their crime, and to serve as an example from God. God is Almighty, Most Wise.” (5:38 – 39)
    9 “Do not withhold any testimony by concealing what you had witnessed. Anyone who withholds a testimony is sinful at heart.” (2:283)
    10 “And do not covet what we bestowed upon any other people. Such are temporary ornaments of this life, whereby we put them to the test. What your Lord provides for you is far better, and everlasting.” (20:131)

    As Muslims we are commanded to believe in the the other scriptures are we not?

    “The Messenger believeth in what hath been revealed to him from his Lord, as do the men of faith. Each one (of them) believeth in Allah, His angels, His books, and His messengers. “We make no distinction (they say) between one and another of His messengers.” And they say: “We hear, and we obey: (We seek) Thy forgiveness, our Lord, and to Thee is the end of all journeys.”” 2:285

    There is much more in common between us all when we follow the words of God, rather than manmade falsehoods.

    Just one last thing Hassan, you talked about “Muslims and their God” and “Christians and their God” don’t you believe in the oneness of God?


  23. Hassan says:

    Bas:’re not just a racist, you suffer from ethnophobia as well. I think you hated all Indonesian, gringo. Well let’s put it this way, your culture is not mine. If you hate Indonesian for being Indonesian, then stay in your beloved country. ‘We’ didn’t ask you to “care” about us. I hated how conservative and artificial japs and brit’s are, but hey, who am I to judge?

    Who are you to judge wiseguy? You share the kind of mentality your government have. Feels like you can judge whoever you like, based on YOUR values, cultures, and pattern of thinking. well the world had many values and cultures, not just yours.

    You said you love and care about Indonesia? How would you show that? By throwing all Indonesian (which you hated so much) out and change the population with white people? Or Chinese? Oh I see, you want us to change our habit’s and culture by insulting the hell out of us.

    I know Indonesians have problems, but insults wont change jack. We’ll see if your method of insulting people to make them come to their senses work. Try this first: go to brooklyn or harlem or any other black ghettos, and yell out loud. Do what you did here. Tell them about how stupid they are, how intolerant, lazy, stuck up and proud of their stupidity. Tell them about why most of them end up being drug dealers and car thiefs. If your theory works and can change them for the better, then we can talk again here, mr. smart alec. That is if you came out alive.

    Last thing, mr big shot white man, don’t lecture us about crime rate, as I see that your crown Jewel country the US. is currently ranked very high on the category of murder, rape, drug abuse, gang violence, broken homes, etc. And your government isn’t very clean either. So clean up your house first, homie.

    If you do love and care about Indonesia, your insults won’t change anything, we don’t need any more critics. Believe it or not we have plenty here domestically.

  24. Bas says:

    No Hassan, I won’t go back to my country. Indonesia is my country since 1993 even if you don’t like it. We can see now who is the racist and tend to indulge in stereotypes. I’ll stay here, and I’ll keep saying what I am saying about (ORBA minded) people like you. I perfectly know the way I criticize people will never be accepted by people like you. It’s not effective but sooo good! I love provocation. It’s my caviar in a country with so many taboos and a such a lack of individual freedom.

    By the way I am not from the US, you should have notice my bad english, and I am neither big nor white skinned.

    Anyway.. I just won’t answer you coming comment. It’s just like talking about religion or culture with Islamists / fanatic people: just useless.

    Have a nice day, Hassan.

  25. Adam says:

    It is very sad to see the subject of this forum, how Islam could be bad for tourism or for anything else, in my mind it is rather tourism that is bad for Islam or for any individual who wants to live in the dignity. I am not Indonesian but African, and we are suffering of the wild tourism.

    Tourists from western countries use to not respect people, to not respect their environment, their religion, their culture. Should they want to come in a Muslim country or anywhere where people have an ethical way of life they have to adapt themselves, and not impose their way of life. they often bring the sexual tourism, prostitution, paedophilia, and the devlopement of the begging. Even during the last world cup in Germany, people complained of arrival of prostitution houses, people drunk in the streets, almost naked men/women in the street etc…Who would like to see his mother or his sister live in such a context?

    Have a look on the Thailand situation or Morocco, on the one hand there is an economic development but on the other hand the poverty is growing, prostitution as well, and local population cannot no longer purchase a house because tourists make price raising. Do you want this situation for your country?

    The right way is not to completely open your country only to gain money from tourism, but to allow it in an ethical way. That you would be Muslim, hindi or Jewish, you have the right to ask your rules to be respected in your countries to a certain extent. People cannot travel in a country without drink? if it is the case, your potential clients are only alcoholic who will be brought the disaster in Indonesia.

    The ethical and tolerant tourism is the future, because people in all countries are fed up people who do not respect them. Do not forget that if you come in a western country you won’t be free to plently practicate your faith, especially in Europe, so why do you want to submit? This does not make sense.

  26. Mohammed Khafi says:


    I have to say with all respect, what a load of utter drivel. I have travelled and worked in over 30 different countries, your blaming tourism for prostitution, paedophilia and the development of begging is complete and utter nonsense, I can name you country after country, and many of them Muslim majority with no real developed tourism, where prostitution, paedophilia and begging are commonplace, one of them being my beloved Indonesia, where our tourism industry is very poorly developed, apart from a couple of areas.

    We have an approximately 90% Muslim population, the largest Muslim population of any country in the world and to go with it we have the largest prostitution complex in Southeast Asia the so called “Dolly” in Surabaya, this is not crowded with tourists it is there for the local population, go to any large city or town and your will find brothels gambling and drinking places.

    Some months ago in an English languge newspaper here, there was an article dealing with a sexual practice in Pesantren (Islamic Boarding Schools) in Indonesia, in which the older student/teachers were allowed to use the younger boys for sexual relief, by rubbing their erections between the younger students legs, this is apparently common practice in some parts of Java, but in any other part of the world this would be classed as homosexual paedophilia, with long jail terms for those caught commiting the act.

    Beggars, well just suffice it to say that there are villages in Central Java, where the whole populace is made up of beggars, again not begging from tourists but from their fellow countrymen.

    You sound to me very much like a person who wants to blame somebody else for your own problems. You will never solve anything in that way my friend.

    Me, I have faced up to the reality that many of our problems are of our own making, poverty, poor education and welfare, lack of teaching of morals, lack of enforcement of law and order. We need to look at ourselves before blaming others for our own short comings

    And your final statement “Do not forget that if you come in a western country you won’t be free to plently practicate your faith, especially in Europe, so why do you want to submit?”

    Who have you been listening to?, obviously you have never been to Europe, I have travelled extensively in Europe and have never had a problem practising my faith, I have never been turned away from a Mosque or Masjid. In fact it matters not what religion you are, you are free to practice you beliefs without let or hinderance.


  27. Adam says:

    Thanks for your comments, but I think you have not completely understood what I meant.
    First, I’m French (I’m living in France, and I bornt in France) but my parents come from Africa, so I think I am better placed than you to talk about the situation of Muslims in my country and in Europe to a greater extent, even if you have already come there. Should you came as a foreigner for a short time you cannot imagine only one second the pressure exercised everydays over the shoulders of Muslims particularly in this country, maybe you have been informed of certain laws against Muslims in France at school, in companies, banks etc….

    2nd point, I absolutely agree with your remarks concerning the existing situation in Muslim countries as in Indonesia (prostitution etc…) but I hope it’s very difficult for you to live in such a situation, and if it is the case I hope you “move” to change this situation or at least that it be an important concern for you, if not I could understand that we will never have the same opinion on this debate. What I meant in my last mail, is just that if one wants to develop the tourism in Indonesia he has to to fix the rules and be honest with God. The Maldives Islands is a good example, certain rules have been established to prevent some skids.

    3rd, I fell on this forum by chance, because I was looking for an “ethical destination” for my holidays with my woman, what it is a proof that foreigners are not reluctant to go towards Muslim countries, it is only the geopolitocal context that could afraid. For many of Muslims living in Europe, Malaysia and Indonesia are examples of tolerance, typical of Asian Muslims, but still in the respect of shariah principles. But we are not stupid we well know that as everywhere else in poor countries, there is “fitna”.

    Those issues do not relate on the religion but only on the economic situation as you said, and also maybe because of lack of faith. However what I’m sure is that the development of tourism accelerates the deterioration of such things in a country, and I think I am well placed to say it given I live in the most touristic country of the world since many years, and I can tell you that mediterranean regions are modern “sodom and gomore” in Summer. Be aware of what’s happened in “Muslim” countries that chose to be too “open minded” only for tourists confort. Do not forget to give the importance of God in all your choices whatever the context. The poverty is maybe a test for you to see your resilience in the right way.

    Finally, you need to understand many Muslims living in western countries have money, and are desperately searching locations wherein they could enjoy the sea, and the beach without concerns, where their women could remove their veil and take a sun bath without being disturbed by men, where they could help their brothers by developing their magnific countries with an “ETHICAL TOURISM” without alcohol, girls in string, night clubs….This is a real market with a high growth potential but not targeted by leisure companies, and even “Muslim countries” because they are focused on the providing of “profitable services” (girls, children trade, sex industry, casinos) for individuals that refuse to act in an ethical way.

    Dear Mohamed, I am not frustrated I just want to show you the chance you have to leave in a Muslim country, despite the matters, and to tell how tourism is a great opportunity but should be well handled/limited to comply with your belief, and I am sure you will agree with me on this point. Perhaps, a new/alternative tourism business should be imagined and Indonesia could be an excellent candidate or Llah ou’alem.


  28. Bradlymail says:

    Prostitution in Indonesia due to poverty, where it’s economy decline. No investment from foreign countries due to polical unstability. Corruption, etc. For Indonesia, tourism plays major role to lift up it’s economy. I agree with Adam opinioned that do not relate religions with economic terms (tourism).

  29. Mohammed Khafi says:


    Whilst I think that poverty is the root cause of most prostitution, there are disturbing trends in the sex industry here which are highlighted in this report:
    Which make it clear to me that it is not just povert but a lack of morals which are the root cause, and not just the morals of the women either but the men also.


    I have had the pleasure of working extensively in mainland Europe and in the UK, I have never found that I was discriminated against because of my religious beliefs. I am also in Paris every five weeks so am well aware of the nature of the problem in France, one must understand that France has a complete seperation between religion and state, and the recent ban of the use of headscarves for Muslim students is seen by the French authorities as a means of removing overtly religious symbolism from the state school system, this does not just apply to Muslims but also those of other religions who wish to display their religious affiliations. I believe that if Muslimah who wish to wear Jilbab or Hijab wish to move to a private Muslim school then they are allowed to do so, please correct me if I am wrong.

    I agree with you that ethical and moral tourism is long overdue, but the commercial organisations which run the tourism industries are only interested in making money.

    Unfortunately the numbers of tourist who are motivated by culture and history are still very limited, especially so in the Muslim word. Just look at flights from the Middle East to Bangkok, full of single young men, most tourists from Saudi Arabia to Indonesia are heading to the mountain resort of Puncak, where the men leave their wives and families to go in search of prostitutes. Prostitution tours from Saudi Arabia to Southern India. Even The Gulf States have their own Prostitution Centre in Dubai, where young women from around the world are sent to service the needs of the local men. Until we can change the mindset of the people, I doubt that anything will change.



    The original posting said “Attempting to forbid sinful activities, such as drinking, harms the growth of tourism in Muslim areas.”

    Perhaps the real root cause of the problem is the prostitution mentioned in this article from “Planet Mole”:

    The Oldest Profession: Indonesia
    Endy M. Bayuni wrote an excellent article on prostitution in Indonesia, and, has come up with a few oddballs that are engaged in the world’s oldest profession.

    Will the real prostitutes please stand up, then stand down
    Endy M. Bayuni, Jakarta

    Something seems to be amiss in the current nationwide crackdown on prostitution.

    Tangerang municipality is leading the charge by rounding up women walking alone in main streets past newly imposed curfew hours, but Jakarta and other major cities have also been raiding locations allegedly used as brothels. Needless to say, these campaigns get massive coverage by the ever news-hungry media, with female prostitutes the main focus, to send a clear message that the authorities are serious about fighting vice.

    Waged in the name of stopping society’s moral decay and saving the nation’s young from moral bankruptcy, one is left to wonder if the campaign is missing the real targets.

    Commercial sex workers who sell their bodies for a few hundred thousand to a few million rupiah are certainly a menace, and if they operated in your neighborhood, you’d probably want them removed too, and thus you would wholeheartedly support the campaign.

    But let’s be honest with ourselves. These streetwalkers are not the only ones who are selling their bodies and souls for financial or material gain in this country. Since they work in hiding to evade the authorities, they are not even the most visible of all prostitutes, either.

    No. There are bigger prostitutes “” bigger fish for the authorities to catch if they are serious about wiping out prostitution. And a lot of the time, these prostitutes do their deeds so blatantly that it is really just a matter of political will for the authorities to round them up.

    Prostitution is usually defined as the sale of sexual services, but the online encyclopedia Wikipedia says: “In a more general sense of the word, anyone selling his/her services for a cause thought to be unworthy can be described as prostituting him/herself.”

    Going by this wider definition, we can think of many other people in various forms of employment who are engaging in the world’s oldest profession:

    * The elected politicians who betray the people’s mandate by continually claiming to work for the people when they are really just serving their personal and political interests.

    * The appointed officials and bureaucrats who, instead of acting as the servants of the people, make the people their servants while enriching themselves.

    * The intellectuals who sell their minds and thoughts to provide scholarly justifications for laws and policies that are clearly detrimental to the interests of the people.

    * The ulemas and priests who willingly give a religious cloak to laws and regulations that suppress people’s freedoms and rights.

    * The journalists who betray the public trust and fill the media with lies and half-truths to mislead the people.
    True to the wider definition of prostitution, they are selling services for causes thought to be unworthy. And there is no cause more unworthy than corruption.

    These, and many other people in different professions, are the real hardcore prostitutes and thus the real menace to society. Their corrupt and perverted conduct poses a much more serious threat to the nation’s morals than the simple sexual services offered by streetwalkers.

    Most streetwalkers enter the profession not by choice but because of economic pressures. 11 million people in this country out of job (according to unreliable official statistics) and 30 million others are underemployed. For many, prostitution is the only available means of survival.

    Such justification cannot be used by the elite members of society who willingly and knowingly sell their soul and services, and sometimes their body too, for profit, material or otherwise. Their only reason for prostituting themselves is greed.

    And they are doing it in the open for all to see. Corruption is so rampant that our children, whose future we are all concerned about, are so exposed to such practices at early age that some grow up to accept them as normal.
    Moral decadence is indeed a big problem in this country, but moral hypocrisy is an even bigger problem since we tolerate the bigger and more dangerous type of prostitution.

    Condemn prostitution in the name of morality, but it’s the bigger and more menacing prostitutes that deserve to be pilloried.

  30. Bradlymail says:

    Mohammed Khafi yeah, I agree with your points too. Even the rich countries facing this problem. Morality plays most important in our life to curb this problem.

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