Indonesian Porn Bill Vote Delayed

Christopher Karwowski
DENPASAR, Indonesia — Legislation offered as a "Ramadan gift" to Indonesia's Muslim populace has been shelved until after Eid al-Fitr, the traditional celebration at the end of Ramadan.

The bill, which seeks to protect Indonesian children from sexual content, is far reaching. It would bar such public acts as holding hands and kissing in public. Indonesia is the world's largest Muslim majority nation with over 220 million citizens. Hard-line Islamic groups, as well as the nation's largest political party, Golkar, have come out in support of the legislation.

Indonesia, an enormous archipelagic nation, includes the predominantly Hindu island of Bali. According to a report on ABC News.com, approximately 1,000 Balinese protestors demonstrated their opposition to the proposed law on Wednesday.

"The porn bill is not a gift but humiliation for the nation" was the message on a banner held by a protestor, the report noted. Bali's governor, Made Mangku Pastika also rejected the parliament plan for passing the bill.

Bali has long been a favored destination for Asian and European tourists – many of whom enjoy the relaxed tropical atmosphere in bikinis and western-style beach wear.

The Indonesian economy relies heavily on international tourism. The island of Bali is especially dependant on the tourism trade. The destination is still recovering from the coordinated terrorist bombing of three nightclubs on Oct. 12, 2002. Two hundred and two people were killed in the explosions, 164 of who were foreign nationals. Bombings in 2003, 2004 and 2005 claimed additional lives.

The bill has sparked concern among Indonesians who have seen radical Muslim groups gain power since the 1998 demise of previous president Suharto.

Voting on the bill has been indefinitely postponed following protests in several provinces across the country, reports website ItalyGlobalNation.

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