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Indonesia passes far-reaching anti-porn law

JAKARTA – Indonesian lawmakers rammed a far-reaching anti-pornography law through parliament Thursday despite howls of protest by artists and religious minorities who say it threatens national unity.

Lawmakers voted by an overwhelming majority to back a modified version of the law, which criminalises all works and “bodily movements” deemed obscene and capable of violating public morality.

The law has been championed by the Islam-based Prosperous Justice Party and other Islamic parties and is being backed by the government of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

It has prompted protests across Indonesia, with critics saying it could threaten traditional cultures from temple statues on Hindu Bali island to penis sheaths on tribesmen in Christian and animist Papua province.

Two of the parties opposing the law walked out of parliament before the vote, saying the bill’s definition of pornography remained too broad despite an exhaustive revision process.

Muslims make up roughly 90 percent of Indonesia’s 234 million population, which also contains sizeable Christian, Hindu, Buddhist and Confucian minorities.

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