Flaunting their piety on Instagram
The Jakarta Post
Indonesian celebrities can’t wait to show you what good Muslims they are, said Muhammad As’ad. The trend among the young and famous these days is to ostentatiously perform hijrah, or repentance for their former hedonistic ways, by documenting it on Instagram. Their social media accounts are filled with posts showing them “hanging out with fellow repentant artists and organizing religious gatherings.” Soap opera star Peggy Melati Sukma, for example, began wearing a hijab in her roles, while Derry Sulaiman, former guitarist of the metal band Betrayer, now makes music focused on Islamic themes. Some of these celebrities, such as Noor Al-Kautsar of the band Rocket Rockers, have left performance altogether, inspired by the literalist Salafi school of Islam that believes “performing arts such as singing, dancing, and acting are haram,” or forbidden. Rediscovering religion is, of course, a lovely idea, but some of these artists are taking it too far, too fast. Having little background in Islamic teachings, they quickly fall into the trap of radical Islamist propaganda. Many of them support the now banned extremist group Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia, which wants to establish a global caliphate. A better path would be to “learn about Islam step by step, with pure intentions,” rather than competing to see who can appear the holiest.