JAKARTA, Indonesia – Police asked Playboy magazine Thursday to stop publishing its Indonesian edition out of fears it could enrage Muslims, and officials of the publication said they were considering the request.
Previously, police and government officials said that there were no laws to ban the magazine, which does not feature any nudity and is no more risque than scores of other local and foreign publications already being sold in the world's most populous Muslim nation.
Ponti Carolus, the director of Playboy's publishing company, said the magazine would think about the request by police.
"Give us 24 hours, and we will let you know our decision," he told reporters at city police headquarters after meeting the police chief. "We are very glad to have input from the Jakarta police. It was quite wise."
Protests of the magazine so far have been small and peaceful, aside from a rowdy demonstration Wednesday that saw around 150 Muslims throw stones at its offices in south Jakarta.
Earlier, Jakarta police chief Gen. Firman Gani said he would ask Playboy to stop publishing so as not to "trigger more reaction."
He did not elaborate, but his request may be more aimed at trying to calm the situation by showing Muslim groups that the police are responding to their grievances, rather than any meaningful attempt to get the magazine to close down.
Aside from the rock throwing, Playboy is unlikely to be concerned by the protests because of the publicity they are generating for the magazine, which reportedly sold out within a day of its launch April 7 and was front-page news across the country.
Despite the fact that it contains no nudity, Islamic politicians and preachers have condemned Playboy, with most saying that the name of the magazine itself was grounds for the government to ban it.
The magazine's arrival in Indonesia coincides with a campaign by conservative Muslims to press parliament to introduce tough draft laws banning pornography and obscene acts, which critics say are an attack on personal freedoms.
On Thursday, around 100 Muslims rallied outside the Jakarta offices of Playboy and other racy magazine.
"This is all part of a conspiracy aimed at destroying Islam through the moral corruption of its younger generation," said Mohamad Jamil, a protest organizer. "Therefore, there is no other choice than to destroy Playboy."
Indonesia is home to more Muslims than any other nation, but is a secular state.
Most people follow a moderate form of the faith, and conservative groups enjoy little active support.