Punk genre is often associated with tendency towards misbehaviour, but the Muslim Punk movement in Indonesia wants to change that.
Ahmad Zaki, one of the movement’s founders, said to Reuters, “We can redirect ourselves to better, more positive things.”
Many of the group’s members used to be street performers, homeless, and most of which with alcohol or drug issues. They start to change since joining the movement. Some start to run their business, write music, or make their own band.
The movement started from a music band, called “Punk Muslim”, with three successful albums and rising name in underground community. Zaki, told to Dream that they wanted to extend their message beyond music. “From them we have an idea to engage the punk community for positive activities.”
Zaki confessed that they faced challenges from society. In their early days, with their attributes and activities, people might suspect them as a misleading or extremist organization.
Their continued struggle to engage the community and break stereotypes starts to come to fruition. Reuters’s story on the movement brings them to the limelight and their message to extend peace, solidarity, and empowerment has been recognized.
Reza Purnama, a member and a former alcoholic, told Reuters, “People aren’t looking down on us anymore.” He said others like him were slowly quitting alcohol and their lyrics were becoming more positive.
Their movement is still defined by rebellion and an anti-establishment, but their resistance is directed towards ignorance and laziness. They express it by singing about Islamic values, freedom for Palestine, or other social issues.
After every concert, the head-banging audience bow their heads in prayer and listen to preaching. In holy month Ramadhan, their members perform in break fasting events in government offices and hotels. Some even organize voluntary cleaning and refurbishment for mosques in communities.
Reuters records the Punk Muslim community has hundreds of members in three of the country’s biggest cities—Jakarta, Surabaya, and Bandung.
CNN also cites that they are not the only group to break the stereotype. One of its kind called “Band Marjinal”, stated in 1997 in Jakarta also extend their music to developing community house for street punk performers to teach them with skills and creative entrepreneurship.