Fri, 24 Nov 2000

Immoral activities?

"Councillors of Muslim-based parties (PPP, PAN and PK) demanded the Jakarta administration close nightspots during Ramadhan. In their opinion, if the nightspots remain open it will only disturb Muslims' solemnity in performing their Ramadhan prayers. PAN councillors want to close nightspots for good because all of those activities are immoral." (The Jakarta Post, Nov. 8, 2000)

Activities in nightspots usually take place in closed rooms without any sound emanating to disturb the residents in the surrounding areas, especially those nightspots located in nonresidential areas. It is not right therefore to say that nightspots will disturb the solemnity of Ramadhan prayers.

The activities in a discotheque, for example, will be entertainment in the form of music, dancing, dining and drinking in the accompaniment of escort girls and/or disc jockeys. Nothing more. Are these activities immoral?

What moral standard do councillors of PAN use to say that the activities of nightspots are immoral? Do they think that Islamic figures the caliber of the late Subchan ZE, who did a lot in the extermination of the Indonesian Communist Party, are immoral? The moral standard that PAN applies is the Fiqh law, which, according to Dr. Nurcholish Madjid, is now fossilized and worth using as decoration only. (Post, Aug. 21, 2000).

It is true that at nightspots there are some people using ecstasy or picking up prostitutes for the night. These actions, however, are simply excesses. Even in Islamic schools with dormitories, I have seen with my own eyes such excesses as sodomy and adultery.

If they fully believe that Islam is rahmatan lil'alamin (a blessing for the universe), they should honor the freedom of people professing another religion, those having different beliefs and even infidels. Man is destined to be varied and does not need uniformity. What a boring place this world would be if all creatures were uniform.