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Indonesian Police Raid Punk Show, Shave Mohawked Kids

In America, dressing like a punk might earn you strange looks down at the mall. In Indonesia, it could get you arrested, shaved and shipped off to bootcamp.

As the Washington Post reports, police in the country’s hyper-conservative Aceh province raided a recent punk show and detained 65 fans. The youngsters were stripped of their spiky jewelry and chains, and those with mohawks had their heads shaved. They were then dunked in water for “spiritual” cleansing, herded into vans and taken to a detention center for “military-style” religious rehabilitation.

While Indonesia is predominately Muslim, Aceh is the only province that follows strict Islamic law. The rules — which also mandate stoning for adulterers and lashings for homosexuals — stem from the semiautonomy the province has enjoyed since 2004, after a devastating tsunami led to a compromise between separatists rebels and the national army.

“We’re not torturing anyone,” police chief Iskandar Hasan said, defending the round-up. “We’re not violating human rights. We’re just trying to put them back on the right moral path.”

Nur Kholis, a human rights commissioner, said the government will launch an investigation to determine whether the punks broke any laws.

“Otherwise,” he said, police “violated people’s right of gathering and expression.”

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