BANDA ACEH mayor Illiza Saaduddin Djamal pulled the plug on the Indonesian Model Hunt 2016 competition this weekend, as organizers and contestants had not adhered to Islamic Shariah law.
Some 95 participants had gathered at the venue at Hotel Grand Nanggroe Sunday to take part in the fashion show when Illiza and Shariah authorities arrived on the scene.
Illiza told reporters that many of the participants had not dressed in accordance with Islamic law, with some wearing tank tops, tight pants, short skirts, and were not wearing the hijab, or headscarf.
Contestants who were not dressed appropriately were taken to city hall to be processed by the authorities.
She added that the event’s organizers did not have permission from the authorities and the municipal government to hold the event.
“I had received reports and photos of the event showing contestants dressed in revealing clothes, which is against our city’s values. That was why I had to take action and shut down the competition,” she said.
She also said that some of the male contestants had dressed inappropriately as well.
The event’s organizing committee chairman Panda Pohan Siahaan said that prior to the event, they had held a technical meeting, where the contestants had worn headscarves.
“Yesterday, they had all worn headscarves. Besides, before the event is over, I cannot disqualify them, as it would be up to the event judges,” he said.
Panda also promised to refund the participants’ registration fees, which was Rp 200,000 (US$15) per person.
This latest incident should come as no surprise to most, as the conservative city of Banda Aceh has seen a recent spate of crackdowns on anything deemed a threat to its majority religion.
A few weeks ago, the city banned its residents from celebrating Valentine’s Day, as it is considered “haram”, or “forbidden”, in Islam for unmarried couples to spend time together without a chaperon.
Illiza has also called out for residents to report LGBT activities and its perpetrators, as the issue has been a hotly-discussed topic in the country.