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Hard-line Indonesian police shave punks' mohawks in 'moral rehab' drive

Chaideer Mahyuddin / AFP - Getty Images

A group of punks are detained in Bandah Aceh police station in Aceh province, Indonesia, on Dec. 13, 2011. Sharia police are "morally rehabilitating" more than 60 young punk rock fans, saying the youths tarnish the province's staunch Islamic image.

The Associated Press reports from BANDA ACEH, Indonesia:

Police in Indonesia's most conservative province stripped away body piercings and buzzed off spiky mohawks from 65 youths detained at a punk-rock concert because of their perceived threats to Islamic values.

The teens and young men were also stripped of dog-collar necklaces and chains and then thrown in pools of water for "spiritual" cleansing, local police chief Iskandar Hasan said Wednesday.

After replacing their "disgusting" clothes, he handed each a toothbrush and barked "use it."

Chaideer Mahyuddin / AFP - Getty Images

Police escort the youths through the police school compound in Aceh Besar.


Plain-clothed police officers shave the heads of the punks.

It was the latest effort by authorities to promote strict moral values in Aceh, the only province in this secular but predominantly Muslim nation of 240 million people to have imposed Islamic laws.

Punk rockers have complained for months about harassment, but Saturday's roundup at a concert attended by more than 100 people was by far the most dramatic.

Baton-wielding police broke up the concert, scattering young music lovers, many of whom had traveled from other parts of the sprawling archipelagic nation.

Dozens were loaded into vans and brought to a police detention center in the hills for rehabilitation, training in military-style discipline and religious classes, including Quran recitation.

They will be held there for at least 10 days, after which they'll be returned to their parents.

Chaideer Mahyuddin / AFP - Getty Images

A youth grimaces as his spiky mohawk — deemed insulting to Islamic traditions — is buzzed off.

Twenty-year-old punk, Fauzan, was mortified.

"Why? Why my hair?!" he said, pointing to his cleanly shaven head. "We didn't hurt anyone. This is how we've chosen to express ourselves. Why are they treating us like criminals?" Read the full story.


After being shorn of their locks, the youths were thrown in pools of water for "spiritual" cleansing.

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