29 October 2008

Syekh Puji, Indonesian Law, Pedophilia

Hopefully once the Indonesian Child Protection Commission (Komisi Perlindungan Anak Indonesia / KPAI) make their report to police about Syekh Puji and his marriage to a 12-year-old, the police will have the testicular fortitude to throw the book at this pedophile.

The KPAI team that went to Semarang seem to think that they have sufficient evidence that the marriage was consummated. To be legally correct the fact finding team uses the words very likely that the Syekh had slept with his child bride, Lutfiana Ulfa.

There seems little doubt that this is a valid marriage in the sense of a religious marriage or as it is generally known, kawin siri. However, it is not a valid marriage in terms of Indonesian law. It would be a hard slog to try and prove that a kawin siri type marriage between a 43-year-old man and a 12-year-old girl is recognized in the Marriage Law (Law No. 1 of 1974 -- soft copy in Indonesia if anyone wants it). This would still be the case even where the parents or guardians are said to have given their approval.

What makes this case even more bizarre and sickening than it already is, is the manner in which the whole affair has been played out. Lutfiana was the winner of a bride selection competition where one of the judges was the Syekh's current wife (this would make her complicit in the procurement of a child for sexual exploitation) and some of his followers (also complicit in the procurement of a minor for sex).

This gets even more perverse when one learns that the parents are in considerable financial difficulty and as such were glad that the daughter was chosen. The only thing that could make this even more bizarre and sad is if the parents financial difficulties were in some way related to the man that they eventually sold their daughter to.

The implication quite clearly is that there was a transaction involved in that the parents are in financial difficulties and then not so after marrying off the daughter. This I need to check further because the parents have only said that they hope it improves their financial position and not that it already has.

The KPAI is hoping that the Police will act on this and charge all those involved under Articles 81 - 83 of the Child Protection Law. These articles in essence prohibit the procurement of child for sex. The articles would provide for a term of imprisonment of up to 15 years and a fine in the vicinity of IDR 250 million, if I recall correctly. I need to look at the law (soft copies in Indonesian and English, I think).

The KPAI reckon that before they can call the man a pedophile they would need to get a psychological test. This is one of those shake your head moments. The KPAI are one of the few to do something about this predator and then they come out with the idea they need to psychologically test the man before they can be sure that he is a pedophile.

The evidence speaks for itself. He is married to a 12-year-old and is looking to procure a 9-year-old and a 7-year-old as his next wives. For my mind there is no need to do psychological test on this man, he is a serial predator, a molester of children, a rapist of children, and worthy of jail time. I hear that the inmates of jails have a special liking for men who interfere with children.

The idea that this man is in some way right because he claims he is doing nothing different from the Prophet is ludicrous. He is not the Prophet for starters and has not been granted any special privileges in this regard. Even a cursory reading of the Suras and the Hadiths would highlight that Muhammad was granted special privileges in the marriage game.

It is also pretty likely that Muhammad only slept with his first two wives (I have been talking to people about this offline and learning a thing or two along the way) and that the Hadiths suggest that Muhammad's marriage practices were not to be followed. In fact there is specific mention of not having more than four wives (strict conditions for more than one) and that children are not to be married (I am sure that there will be a reader out there somewhere that can enlighten me on whether I am close to the mark or way off base -- constructive comments welcome because I want to learn more).

It is time that more people came out against this practice. It does not matter that it is rare. What matters is that it happens and it must not. The children of this world are our future, they are our hopes and dreams, and no man (or woman) has a right to strip a child of that future under any circumstances, ever!


Anonymous said...

Gee, what an ugly story, and an ugly man. He is definetely a pedophile.

As you know, I'm not a hadits reader and I only read the Qur'an, which I believe, is the message by God (unlike haditz, wrote by men). There must be a phrase about marriage...about marrying underaged women.

You know, if you want to follow Mohammad, why don't you find a rich, 40 years old widow (like Khadijah) instead of weak minors? Most men are not men enough, hmh.

Elyani said...

Rob, the saddest thing is that in our criminal justice system, one can be innocent even after proven guilty. I am not only anger over what the pervert has done to this child but also very disappointed with her parents (esp. her dad) who has indirectly sold her daughter to the pedo-pervert. He does not need a psychology test because the facts have spoken for themselves and even recorded in the media. Now, he just said sorry and promise to return Ulfa back to her parents. What about Ulfa? Am sure she will face grave humiliation from everyone as her story has been known nationally. The pervert needs to be locked up immediately but I doubt it will happen.

schmerly said...


Apparently Mohamed had quite a few wives, I understand the reason being he married some of them was to prevent inter tribal wars, I think the same kind of thing happened in Europe a few hundred years ago, where princess and princes would marry to try to prevent wars between the royal families.

Rob Baiton said...


It is an ugly story.

I will leave the most men comment alone ;)

This is the thing the MUI are saying it is sad when there are so many older women out there that he could have married instead of marrying a child. This hardly seems to be any kind of condemnation of the act.


For me it does not matter if he apologizes and "hands" her back to her parents. It still needs to be tested as to whether he broke the law and then punished if he did.

Annulling the marriage is to little, too late. The damage is already done.


My point on Muhammad was not whether he was right or wrong but that my understanding of this is that he was subject to different rules.

It's unlikely the Syekh is going to be able to sustain an argument that there is a greater geo-political reason for his marriage to a child.

Mei said...

Hei Rob,

I cant believe that MUI doesnt do anything about this while the guy is clearly breaking the law. on the contrary, MUI is making fuss about the porn bill (which gonna be passed this thursday I heard) and gonna make new law stating that 'smoking' is haram.

what on earth is happening?

Rob Baiton said...


To be fair to the MUI. They are saying that he is breaking the law. They are not doing anything about it though.

They also seem to say that there is more to this than meets the eye.

pj said...

Have to agree with Mei. I am surprised that large religious institutions like the NU, Muhammadiah,MUI etc.. have not taken a more active role if only to dissociate themselves from Sheykh Puji. Having said that I not sure that this should be made into a religious issue per se. The law is clear in this regard as I think you have pointed out in your previous post - just follow the law! As this law was presumably drafted by Indonesians my guess that the sentiments of the muslim majority would have been taken into account way back in 1974 wouldn't it?

There does seem to be more and more people interested in this affair. Maybe there is hope for the next potential child bride here in Indonesia.

schmerly said...


I see old Garry Glitter has just copped £100,000 from Hewlett Packard for using his music, now Gazer has enough money to buy himself a load of little girls to play with, perhaps he should contact Syekh Puji.

rani said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rani said...

Rob, I think it's also not a valid religious marriage because it's forbidden to marry someone who's not an adult yet.

As for Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him), you can find an argument here that he did not marry Aisha when she was still a child.

boneman said...

my understanding of it was similar to the political following.
The women came to be his wives because they were the widows of his brave followers. Widows of the past were treated less dignantly than the pervert in your story, here.

Anonymous said...

ew.. gross!

treespotter said...


i been trying to leave comments on these two posts (one you had before on the same subject)but for some reason i couldn't get through. First things first, just as further reference, I have before gone the extra length to explain just how strict the requirements are for polygamy in Islam (http://treespotter.blogspot.com/search/label/polygamy)

Like, you rightly pointed out, yes, marriage practices of the prophet is more an exception rather than the rule, any claim that he was following the prophet is laughable.

Like you, i too, am somewhat disgusted and supremely annoyed by how KPAI responded to this - short of straight out condemnation, i think, is just not enough. Particularly for KPAI since it supposedly act in behalf of children. From what i heard from several ppl tho, the said 'psych' test is some sort of euphemism to check if the marriage of indeed consummated - if they had sex. silly, but apparently that was it.

I'm curious of one thing: wouldn't he be breaking child protection law anyway? (sex with minors?)

If it is, i truly wonder if this isn't again sheer incompetence in behalf of the law enforcement agency? East Java has a string of these of late - Ryan murders, the deadly zakat incident, etc.

While i truly and expect explicit and straight condemntation from KPAI-MUI and all that, again, as i have said before, and i'm only trying to be consistent here, MUI should stay away, my preference is that they keep their stupid big mouth shut on ALL things. I think i did a post on them, too before.

This guy had sex with minors, there must be a law he's breaking. The fact that the mainstream media is turning this into a debate is just pathetic. Put the man in front of a bus, and roll him over. just the sight of him annoys me so much.

To my knowledge, the police had already started an investigation, do you know what charges they're currently considering?

btw, on a lighter note, you're supposed to write about a song next :D - check my place

Odehief said...

I think it's became a precedent for next or future moment, cause many Moslem have double standard about law: Islamic Law (higher) and State Law (lower degree/position). And many moslem have their own interpretation to religious teaching. Btw, nice post and blog!

Odehief said...

Hi, just sharing, this is my posting and several comment about this matter... http://digdag.dagdigdug.com/2008/10/24/kiai-bengal-kaya-nikahi-siri-abg-12-tahun/

Rob Baiton said...


I do not think that it is a religious issue either other than for the fact that the old arguments are being trotted out that "the prophet did it so it must be OK".

In a strict legal sense he has broken the law and must be held accountable for that violation.

He has now said he is handing the girl back to her parents. This is funny in that sad perverse way in that he seems to think that by handing the girl back he is absolved of all wrong doing.

Yes, I think that the marriage law incorporated Islam's views on marriage into the provisions.

Thanks for your comment!


With a bit of luck Gary Glitter will not get into any country in this part of the world (hopefully any part of the world) to spend any of that money.

It is a bit of a concern that he now has sizable resources.


Thanks for the link. I have read something similar before. I still think there is more evidence to suggest that Aisha was still a child when she married Muhammad than there is for her being an adult.

Nevertheless, this is not the issue with the Syekh. I agree it is doubtful that this is a valid religious marriage.


Yes, I have read about the political and religious alliances that arose as a result of Muhammad's selective marrying of widows.


A pen name makes it easier for me to distinguish you from others.

Thanks for the comment.

Gross is probably a bit of an understatement on this one.


We talked about this the other day and I am glad that my humble abode finally let you leave a comment.

Yes, I will write a musical post once I have checked out the rules :D


Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment.

Also, thanks for the link. I will check it out.

Can there be a double standard where the rule of law is being applied in the manner it is designed to be?

I do not see how Islamic Law can be higher unless it is codified as such.

Migo said...

Hi Rob,

Thank you for posting this story! When I first heard about it, I could not believe such thing is really happening. But that her parents allow this to happen to their child is really hideous! And on top of all, the girl also agreed. Well, she couldnt say no anyway probably. And I just learned from your posting that it was a competition with the guy's first wife sitting as one of the judges? What a crazy world we live in!

And he wants to return the girl to the parents? Does he seriously think it will undo the madness about and surrounding this case? The girl is only 12 years old, already a widow and not a virgin anymore (in case virginity still matters to some people in Indonesia), and she will drag the status for the rest of her life as the pedophile's ex-wife (or victim?)

And yes, the guy is very ugly! A pervert, a sick guy, a pedophile who wrongly justifies his actions based on Quran and what Prophet Mohammad did.

Anxoin said...

Dont talk about Muhammad, if didnt learn anything about Him. When married Aisyah, woman who created and fate by God just for became Muhammad wife in the world and the beyond life in heaven. Muhammad just followed what God Said, and thats not because His desire. Human have intelligence and thought, that we do anything in our life. So I said that Muhammad isnt a pedophile. And Islam didnt teach about pedophile. Muhammad have been said that all moslem must be adapted with the period when they lifed.

Rob Baiton said...


If I want to talk about Muhammad, I can. If I want to talk about the age of Aisha, I can. If I want to talk about the fact that Muhammad married Aisha when she was a child, I can. If I want to talk about this in the context of modern day pedophilia, I can.

None of this matters with respect to whether God / Allah created Aisha purely for the purpose of marrying Muhammad.

In terms of the Syekh, it is he who claims he is following Muhammad's example. Therefore, the discussion on Muhammad and Aisha as context comes into this debate courtesy of the Syekh.

Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment.

schmerly said...


Well!! Where’s your reply??

Rob Baiton said...


My apologies on the incorrect spelling of your name.


Patience is a virtue :D

If Anxoin wants to reply then so be it. If that was the sum total of the contribution, then so be it.