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Playboy Hits Jakarta, Is Porn Good For Islam?

American porn takes on the Muslims world...

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) -- A toned-down edition of Playboy magazine went on sale Friday in Indonesia, defying threats of protests by Islamic hardliners who called the publication a form of moral terrorism in the world's most populous Muslim nation.

The magazine does not feature nude women, and its photos of female models in underwear are no more risque than those in other magazines already for sale in the country. More explicit photos appear daily in local tabloids.

Protesters hit the streets in towns across Indonesia when the magazine announced in January it was planning a local version, but it remains to be seen whether demonstrations will pick up again after people have read it.

One hardline group, the Islamic Defenders Front, pledged to forcefully remove the magazines from shops.

"The first edition might be tame, but it will get more vulgar," said group spokesman Tubagus Muhamad Sidik. "Even if it had no pictures of women in it, we would still protest it because of the name."

Muslim leader Yusuf Hasyim said the magazine posed more of a threat to Indonesia than the terrorism from al Qaeda-linked militants that has killed more than 240 people in the sprawling country in recent years.

"This is a kind of moral terrorism that destroys the way of the life of the nation in a systematic and long-term way," state news agency Antara quoted Yusuf Hasyim as saying, calling on Muslim youth not to attack shops selling the magazine.

You read that correctly. Islamic zealots actually think that pictures of women in their panties are worse than terrorism.

All joking aside, this publisher is a brave soul. Remember that cartoons published in a Danish newspaper through the Muslims world into violence and riots. Just imagine the risk he's taking by publishing pictures of Arabic women in their panties.

I sometimes wonder, though, if it isn't people like this publisher who will end up being instrumental in winning the war on terrorism. It seems to me that spreading western culture to the oppressed middle east is a good way to push back said oppression. People in Jakarta are going to hear their leaders proclaim that this magazine is "worse than terrorism," and then they're gonig to look at the actual magazine and think to themselves that maybe their leaders are exaggerating. After all, for someone who lives with terrorism in their lives it is hard to reconcile pictures of scantily-clad babes with being as bad as innocent women and children being blown up. And once this realization begins to dawn on the populace in the middle-east how long will it be until they begin questioning their leader's other proclamations about the "evils" of the "great Satans" in the west?

If western culture can get a toe-hold in the Muslim world (and I'm not just talking about pornography - not that this watered-down version of Playboy is "porn" by western standards - but also books, movies, music, plays, etc.) I can't help but feel that it will have a positive impact in that it will expose them to new ideas and perhaps lure them into becoming a modern liberal society.

Of course, I'm simplifying things a bit as cultural changes like this can take generations, but you see my point.

Playboy may well be the best thing to have happened to Indonesia in a long, long time.

Posted by Rob Port · 7 April 2006 11:04 AM


Sir, this is a BLOG!!! You should know the etiquette!

You claim they will show Arab women in their panties. Where, I ask.... is the link?


Posted by: Mr. Michael at April 7, 2006 11:37 AM

Where do they shop for underwear? Mohammed's Secret?

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at April 7, 2006 02:29 PM