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Indonesia teens accused of ‘blasphemous’ boogie to Maroon 5 song

Published: Updated:

Five high school girls in Indonesia, were expelled and threatened with juvenile detention late Tuesday after they filmed themselves praying and dancing to a Maroon 5 song.

The video of the girls, a five-minute clip which went viral online, showed the girls mixing prayer with a dance to the U.S. band’s hit “One More Night.”

In the clip, the girls, wearing school tracksuits, switch between Islamic prayer rituals and mostly innocent dancing, with the occasional pelvic thrust and suggestive hand gesture thrown in.

On YouTube, several versions of the video have been viewed more than 500,000 times, according to AFP news agency. The girls were expelled from their high school in Tolitoli city after the clip went viral.

Dozens of members of hardline group, the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), protested outside the local police station on Monday in anger at the video, which was first posted online last month.

It is just the latest in a string of blasphemy cases in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, which have prompted rights groups to call for a change in a law they say is outdated and misused.

“The school and members of the community were offended by the video and felt it insulted Islam,” Tolitoli police chief Rudi Mulyanto told AFP.

“We are considering the case, and if we think it is serious, we will recommend they be officially charged in court.”

He said the girls, who are not in custody, could be jailed if found guilty but did not know what length of sentence they might face.

Blasphemy in Indonesia carries a maximum sentence of five years, though minors usually face half the adult sentence and are locked up in juvenile detention facilities.

The girls are in grade 12, where students are normally aged 17 or 18. Police did not give their ages but said they were being treated as minors.

In a long explanation sent to Detik.com, the headmaster of the school said he decided to report the students to the police after consulting with the Indonesian Ulema Council and the FPI.