Ramadhan Sweeping

Sep 14th, 2006, in News, by

As the fasting month of Ramadhan approaches efforts at “sweeping” of places of dubious moral worthiness, such as bars and brothels, tends to increase.

Recently there have a been a few reports of sweeping by both police and motivated citizen’s groups, usually of a religious bent. In Bogor on the 8th hundreds of young men from an obscurely named group raided roadside stalls and rented properties thought to be places of sin. This action was a continuation from the previous day which saw four places that supposedly provided prostitutes with the opportunity to meet up with customers destroyed.

In this latest tempo action the mob set upon three girls who were standing nearby – two of them managed to escape but one was cornered. Police however managed to prevent any harm coming to her. In another incident a woman who was bathing her child was forced to flee, child in her arms and screaming, as the mob believed that a house owned by her was being used as a brothel. It turns out that the woman rented the house out to a family who at the time of the attack were visiting family in their village.

In Semarang, also on the 8th, police raided a number of roadside stalls in the port district of Tanjungemas where alcohol was being sold, in preparation for Ramadhan. Hundreds of bottles were confiscated. They also raided the Sunan Kuning red-light district, again looking for alcohol it seems, but the reports say that none was found.

In Batang, central Java, a beachside area, a number of hotels were raided kompas, these being thought to be places of prostitution.

Meanwhile in Jombang, a provincial town in East Java and an important regional centre of Islamic education, with very many “pondok pesantren” or Islamic boarding schools being located in and around the town, religious and clerical leaders announced metrotv that they trusted the police to handle the problem of prostitution and other sinful activities. In a prayer meeting attended by over 5000 people Salahuddin Wahid, the brother of former president Abdurrahman Wahid, said that he agreed with the assembled clerics that informal mass actions against “entertainment” places, in the run up to the celebration of the fasting month, were unnecessary and that the police had the sole authority to deal with the problem.

And later, on the 13th, the Governor of Jakarta, Sutiyoso, implored mass organisations to not take the law into their own hands. The operation of places of entertainment during Ramadhan was already dealt with in the law and it was the responsibility of the police to enforce the matter.

If there is sweeping then the police have to act. Don’t let people act as judge and jury. I don’t agree and the police have to act.
(Kalau ada yang melakukan sweeping-sweeping seperti itu, polisi harus bertindak. Jangan dibiarkan orang main hakim sendiri. Saya tidak setuju dan polisi harus bertindak.)

September 15th – The head of the Semarang police, Dody Sumantyawan, says kompas his men will take firm action against unofficial raids on restaurants and bars during Ramadhan. If places of entertainment were known to be breaking the time restrictions on trading during Ramadhan he asked that they be reported to the police.

27 Comments on “Ramadhan Sweeping”

  1. Andrew says:

    Sad and sickening — people take matters into their own hands.

    What rights do they have to “sweep”? I hope Sutiyoso’s call isn’t just an empty call.

  2. But who is the real puppet master, the guy yanking these people’s strings? They are seemingly untouchable which suggests they have influential backers…

  3. bfy says:

    This sort of behaviour if allowed to persist would be a setback to advances in the rule of law in Indonesia. I hope the government is serious about police intervention to halt the activities of these thugs.

  4. Molisan Tono says:

    same old same old

  5. Miss Indo 07 says:

    yep,this kind of people make Islam look bad,

  6. Oigal says:

    And people wonder why I take my family out of Indonesia every Ramadhan…Holy Month indeed…

  7. Molisan Tono says:

    I never “add” sweeping in my brain vocabulary during Soeharto, why i heard that word many times after that? lame government a?

  8. Parvita says:

    Usually, clubs in Jakarta, for example, those along Kemang, or at Kota and everywhere have some sort of ‘invisible guard’, somebody powerful. This person is suppose to protect the business. Of course, they get paid. Doesn’t necessarily be a person, it can be the police, someone related to the army, etc.

    During lebaran, it’s another excuse to ask for more. Clubs that pay less will not get full protection, i.e. the mob might be organized by the guards. One possibility. Decent clubs (like “Salsa” in Kemang) was attacked several years ago because they sell beer during Ramadhan (those who dance salsa don’t actually drink alcohol, they can’t dance when they are drunk!). Let alone the “massage and beyond” kind of places, I suppose they have somebody behind them to keep the business running.

    They use Islam as a cover. And those poor ignorant people are being in the front line of this sweeping. Nothing in Islam teaches violence. So if Sutiyoso wants to take care of this, it is not only busting those guys at the front line but also get to the root of it.

    And I feel pessimistic about this, honestly.

  9. Hassan says:

    well, we must be fair. those people wouldn’t have to do those sweepings had the government been more strict on those shady places. those kinds of businesses (prostitutions, liquor dealers, and so forth) IS against the law. why did the government allow such establishment to flourish in the first place is beyond me.

    the real reason behind this is actually police corruption, the police is receiving money from those businesses so they can continue their illegal existence. and now, the people have had enough with those behaviour, so they took matters on their own hand.

    hey, I don’t like any acts of violence and attrocity, but i mostly do not support shady businesses. why would anyone support shady bussinesses anyway? If we have to blame someone as the root of the problem, it’s the police for their corruption, and protection of such businesses.

  10. Hassan says:

    btw, i figured those people do not like their neigborhod to turn into such ‘red light district’. i mean, who would? would any of us like it if our backyard is full with whores, pimps, and drunks? and would you like it if your neighbour sells liquor, or offered massage service with ‘extras’?? I know I wouldn’t.

    I have more sympathy for the decent people trying to make decent living and raising their family in decent conditions wanting to clean their neighbourhood from evil elements than some shady business owner’s interest.

  11. Parvita says:

    I am quite skeptical that the violence done is purely because they don’t want their neighbourhood to be a red light district. Those guys in the name of Islam, that destroys clubs and places, they don’t live in their neighbourhood. They were recruited. How they choose the target, I don’t know. Those clubs that doesn’t pay enough protection fee?

    If you go out at night and go clubbing, you will know what I’m talking about below. Remember when Dragon Fly was “busted” because of drugs? Only couple of people were using it. Then you go drive to the Kota area to find a place called “Stadium”. EVERYBODY there use drugs, some underaged, who are not supposed to be there in the first place, they freely pass ecstasy without shame. Now, why is this place is not the main target? Simple answer: they pay good to their ‘protector’.

    Usually, when there is any sign that a place is used for prostitution or drugs, the head of the neighbours such as the RT or RW will investigate first and report it to the police. If there is no action, then tough, maybe the police has been bribed. Which I’m not surprised at all.

    The one I clearly remember is the Salsa club, which is a legal club. Do you think the people that raided the club lives around Kemang? They are clearly recruits of Forum Pembela Islam. And the club is legal. They legally sell beverages. And remember, the people that work there, the cook, waiters, maids, they are mostly Moslems that are just doing their job and they lost their job when the club was closed.

    Women who walk at night, whether it is proper or not, well, if the husbands could support the family enough, I would say that the women prefer to stay at home. And who is to judge that they are not ‘right’ women? Do you think these women like to arrive home at night? Not seeing their children during the day?

    Why can’t things just be held in a peaceful way?
    I would say the police should not let people act by their own judgement. This country has a law and violence is clearly against it.

    Just my two cents.

  12. Hassan says:

    no Parvita, the rationale is no one wants their neighborhood to become a red light district. no one!

    it means that red light districts shouldn’t even exist in Indonesia (impossible as it might be, hey having a dream is better than having none). and Muslims should not want their country full of those sex industry practitioners, either.

    I know you’re a Muslim Parvita, have you ever heard of ‘amar ma’ruf nahyi munkar’ (doing good and preventing evil)? it’s every Muslim’s responsibility to upheld that term. those people are upset and desperate because the police protected those illegal businesses instead of doing their job to curb those kind of things, so they took matters on their own hand.

    what else should those people do?? lie down and die? accept all those nonsense going on in front of their noses? I don’t know why people these days tend to defend those who had clearly committed evil deeds, like hoes, pimps, gamblers, drunks, etc. why not support those who tried to upheld morality? I know their ways are against the law, but who broke the law on the first place?? if the law doesn’t work, what do they suppose to do?

  13. Parvita says:


    I’m sure nobody wants their neighbourhood to be a red light district. But face it, there is! What the government can do is to localize those activities, so that it will not spread around the community, especially children. And it is not only the women to blame, because there will not be a prostitute if there is no men that are using their services, right?

    Anyways, back to sweeping in Ramadhan, this is a free country, not a Moslem country. Moslems should be respected during ramadhan, but also non Moslems, or those who are not practising Moslem. Again, Moslem is about choice, you cannot force somebody to “be good” by forcing them. So I find it difficult to understand why should selling alcohol be banned during ramadhan? Why should things change? Moslems don’t drink alcohol anyways, right? So let those who drink, drink! So why should the clubs be beaten up because they sell alcohol?

    Violence only cause people to look at Moslem in more negative way. The way they do sweeping in TV, what I see in their eyes are anger, fire, fierce, which all represents…….demon.

  14. Andrew says:

    With all due respect, I think fasting in a “sterilized” environment is like going to a test knowing that you won’t have to answer difficult or challenging questions.

    What is the point of fasting then?

  15. Molisan Tono says:

    it just like you claim your victory without any conflict. victory over nothing. funny though…hahaha…

    better fight the paper shredder next time…

  16. Hassan says:

    Parvita: your reasoning is getting old. you’re a Muslim, but you’re defying the obligation Muslims have to upheld ‘amar ma’ruf nahyi munkar’ (doing good and preventing evil). Muslims who opposes Islamic basic doctrines, that’s a shame.

    Indonesia is a free country? nah, Indonesia is a pancasila country. the u.s. is a free country, Indonesia is not.

  17. Parvita says:

    Hassan, I’m a Moslem and I don’t like violence. Doing good and preventing evil is not identical with acting violently. Violent is not Islamic basic doctrines.

    I’m not ashamed of being a peaceful Moslem. I’m not the kind that support raging masses destroying and burning stuffs. And it’s not stopping it, but it only brings HATE and REVENGE.

    Indonesia is not a Moslem country. Lots of other non Moslems live here. We are free to express our beliefs, that’s the point. At least, we should be. Nobody is entitled to force their beliefs to others.

    You think the US is a free country? Travel a bit. Go to Europe.

    Hassan, I respect your opinion but we are different in our approach and it’s fine.

    Andrew: I’m with you. Yes, we should respect those who fast, but it doesn’t mean that everything should stop and change. YOU change. YOU control yourself more. YOU do your best more. Not force the surroundings to change. That IS silly, indeed!

    I hope the non Moslems participating in this thread will not think that Moslems are identical with violence. Islam, like other religions, teaches peace and love for others.

    Peace, to all. Happy Ramadhan.

  18. Molisan Tono says:

    Hassan, if Indonesia is really Pancasila country, then your men should think carefully about the first point of pancasila, instead of torn apart church using illegal building issue. let’s get real Hassan, is your mosque has permit to stand? how many mosque here in Indonesia has permit? let’s leave all behind that majority and minority bullsh*t. you give me statistic how many mosque has legal permit. not only community permit. I don’t need that.

    Parvita, first you gave me impression that you hard line Moslem, but soon i find out you are the kind of frinedlier Moslem. thanks for your support for minor.

  19. Hassan says:

    Molisan Tono: gee, i dunno how many mosques have permit or not, I don’t work for the badan pertanahan nasional or dirjen pajak, hehehe! I have a suggestion tono, if you don’t want your buildings torn apart, maybe you should consider doing things legally and stop those illegal approaches. ESPECIALLY because you are the minority. i mean, was it so hard to do things legally???

    Parvita: I don’t like violence either. but we should not defy the ‘amar makruf nahyi munkar’ doctrine. I agree that we should not do it forcibly, but I also think that those kinds of businesses should be closed, permanently. not just because it is against the Islamic belief but also because most of them were illegal businesses.

    violence is a bad thing, but being pacifistic on the existance of evil is even worst. we should reject evil even if we can only do it in our hearts. tolerance is NOT equal to being a pacifist.

  20. jonathan says:

    They don’t know what they do. They are narrow minded, it’s silly.

  21. Dragonwall says:

    Oigal you asked where you could have the translation from Indonesian.
    Here is the person. Dr. Hendra Tanu Atmadja SH, Wisma Benhil Ltl 6 A9-10 Jl Jend Sudirman. Telp: 571 1918, 573 6022.

    Indonesia is a pancasila country

    I am quite amuse by certain usage of pancasila and free country.

    A free country is beng democratic, freedom of speech and rights of each individual.
    Whereas the pancasila also implore such doctrine but were often being misleaded by interpreters because they wish to justify their action. So if Indonesia is not a free country, why is everyone always in such a hurry to promote Indonesia being a democratic country. If Indonesia cannot be a free country why would a person or investor want to invest in Indonesia? To face discrimination and restrictions?

    It is all human who make their own law at random to justify what they want to do.
    I also find it hard to belief that even the police join in the action.
    I suppose each year during the ramadhan the clock just stop for everyone else. This is disgusting because everyone with that belief just go around elbowing everyone that they need to be respected. Respect is where you earn, you don’t asked for it. And those despecable people who feel that it is their right to exert such atrocities are narrow minded and primitive.
    By telling other religion what to do is not going to win them any respect. I will not if I am told to do so, would you? Simple. What it that is the other way round? What would you do?.

    No one respects the clerics or the servant of such religion. The greatest thing is that a person can convince their followers that their own religion does not condone such action and it had to stop at this point. Malaysia do not have this so is Singapore, Brunei, Philippines. ONLY IN INDONESIA.

  22. Dragonwall says:

    liquor dealers, and so forth) IS against the law. why did the government allow such establishment to flourish in the first place is beyond me.

    Those establishments do have all the necessary licence to operate don’t they! And the licence does not say that they are not allowed to do business during ramadhan, right!. So how could they ge against the law?

    In any religion there are the ma’ruf and munkar not only islam. It is the people who tries to shaft it down the throat of those non islam believers and make them abide their religious law.

    Indonesia is not a Moslem country

    This are people with rational thinking.

    Indonesia is not.

    This is prejudicial thinking.

    So there is a difference. Add one more cents.

    People with irrational thinking should suggest that for all of those who are fasting be place into one corner of Indonesia, like Nusa Kambangan so that they don’t have outside disturbance or influence.

    It is sickening that it had to repeat year after year and seemed no ends to that. And it is always the business to bear the brunt causing people to lose their job unnecessarily. It is a sickness. Sick people with sick brain prophesicing sick teachings.

    Name one religion that teaches people to behave in this way.

    Prostitution is legal in many countries including Malaysia. All prostitutes carries a licence to carry out their profession. If it is against the law then those that contravene the law should be punish not everyone in that establishment or area. If selling alchoholic drinks is against the law then why the licence for?

    You are telling everyone that a business must obtain a licence to do business but not allow to operate. Which country had this kind of law?

    And most of all those commenting on this are people trying to protect their religion and justify the action of their people.

  23. Raden says:

    Here we go we are in Ramadhan month 2007 again, wondering to know why there is no sweeping news again this year ???

  24. Molisan Tono says:

    don’t you watch news on TV? those FPI freak started to do so, just like those stupid Polisi Pamong Praja.
    “nga malu?” “nga malu sama yang puasa?” they yell those craps while tearing apart other food shop…

    what a shame … “apa nga malu?” puasa kok rusakin toko orang?….

    FPI should be banish down to hell. those creeps make lot of shame to majority moslem.

    FYI, those food shop belong to moslem who looking for money to feed their family, and maybe to have a bit money to celebrate coming Lebaran.

    those who agree to vandalism act by FPI or Polisi PP, shame on you bunch of hypocrits….

  25. jonathan says:

    FPI…you are narrow minded…..please use your brain not your muscle

  26. Raden says:

    sorry Molisan, I am not living in Indo & hv only access to monitor TVRI, as u know TVRI never cover FPI kind of vandalism.
    where is the url to read those FPI’s actions ? …

  27. Molisan Tono says:

    Raden, you can start to search news from SCTV.com or other source…

    check this out:

    also from this forum:

    this one too…

    FPI simply society most annoying terrorist…

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