//Anti-pornography bill won't affect Hindus in Bali: Indonesian VP

Anti-pornography bill won't affect Hindus in Bali: Indonesian VP

2006/3/21, BALI, Indonesia, AP

Legislation proposed by Muslim legislators to ban pornography and obscene acts in Indonesia will not affect whether scantily-clad tourists can sunbathe on the resort island of Bali, Indonesia’s vice president said Monday.

Jusuf Kalla was responding to fears among members of the island’s Hindu enclave that the bill would have a chilling effect on its tourist industry by criminalizing sunbathing, as well as being incompatible with its Hindu culture.

"Do not worry, we (the government) don’t agree (with everything in the bill)," Kalla told tourist chiefs on the island. "I am sure if it is passed, it will not wreck your rights. All the political parties are listening to your complaints."

The bill, drawn up by Muslim parties and clerics, also calls for prison terms and fines for kissing in public, exposure of a woman’s "sensual" body parts and the display of "erotic" artworks.

The vague terminology used in the bill has led to fears that traditional dancing, skimpy clothing and even bathing in rivers could be declared illegal.

Indonesia is the world’s fourth most populous nation and 90 percent of its citizens are Muslim, although the vast majority practice a moderate form of the faith.

Islamic activists say the bill is necessary to counter what they say is a growing Westernization of Indonesian society.

Opponents say it attacks the country’s secular traditions.