While Islam is practiced worldwide, many of us tend to only think of the Muslims in the Middle East, looking past those in Southeast Asia. However, with over 87% of its people identifying as Muslim, Indonesia actually has the largest population of Muslims in the world.
The young adult Muslim culture in Indonesia is not that much different from youth culture anywhere else in the world these days: everyone has smartphones and, like them or not, selfies are the norm. A previously celebrated young Muslim cleric, however, has recently proclaimed that the act of taking a selfie is a sin – a claim which many young Muslims in Indonesia have taken great offense to.
How did they respond to the condemnation of their smartphone snaps? By taking even more selfies than ever before.
The young cleric, Felix Siauw, made his anti-selfie remarks via Twitter on Monday last week, with subsequent tweets explaining his reasoning. Online news source Coconuts Jakarta translated the tweets into English:[tweet https://twitter.com/felixsiauw/status/556985228154007552 align=center]
▲ “If we take a selfie, sift through and chose our best pose, and then we’re awed and impressed by ourselves–worryingly, that’s call PRIDE.”
[tweet https://twitter.com/felixsiauw/status/556985485654884353 align=center]
▲ “If we take a selfie and upload it on social media, desperately hoping for views, likes, comments or whatever–we’ve fallen into the OSTENTATIOUS trap.”
[tweet https://twitter.com/felixsiauw/status/556985683726721024 align=center]
▲ “If we take a selfie and we feel cooler and better than others–we’ve fallen into the worst sin of all, ARROGANCE.”
[tweet https://twitter.com/felixsiauw/status/556986671342698497 align=center]
▲ “These days many Muslim women are taking selfies without shame. There are usually nine frames in one photo with facial poses that are just–My Goodness–where’s the purity in women?”
While he makes some interesting points, it’s not hard to understand why many Indonesian youths, especially girls, are retaliating. To make matters worse for Siauw, some netizens pointed out that he was recently a judge for a selfie contest, a claim he vehemently denies. He insists, instead, that he was actually giving a lecture on “a different kind of selfie, self-introspection.”
Regardless of his supposed hypocrisy, young Indonesians are fighting back hard on Twitter with #selfie4siauw. The hashtag has exploded and the new trend is even reaching outside of the archipelago.
▼ Young women, who usually don’t even take selfies, have been posting pictures of themselves just out of spite.
[tweet https://twitter.com/yayunk/status/557377737598332929 align=center]
▼ “You’re mean!”
[tweet https://twitter.com/FerryMaitimu/status/557103354929631232 align=center]
▼“It’s a sin? Really?”
[tweet https://twitter.com/Nindi0601/status/557145306513424384 align=center]
▼ Some of these girls have sass!
[tweet https://twitter.com/reenbelle/status/557116104183517184 align=center]
[tweet https://twitter.com/claradevi/status/557074905250820096 align=center]
▼ She probably went out of her way to make a nine-frame photo, just as Siauw mentioned in his tweet.
[tweet https://twitter.com/Raranov_/status/558091131238768640 align=center]
▼ It seems to have all started with Indonesian activist @dianparamita.
[tweet https://twitter.com/dianparamita/status/557065975904759808 align=center]
We’re in no position to say what defined as a sin in the Islamic faith, but the Indonesian youth are making a pretty clear statement about how they feel about those trying to use religion to stop them from posting pics of themselves. There’s no word about how Siauw is reacting to the backlash, but it’s pretty safe to say that his comments won’t be changing the minds of many Indonesian youngsters anytime soon.