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Repent and clean: Former hoodlums remove tattoos as penitence

Jakarta Globe - May 10, 2021

Yudha Baskoro, Jakarta – Hundreds of hoodlums and gang member have been flocking to a mosque in West Jakarta to remove tattoo from their skin since the beginning of Islamic fasting month this year as an act to express their repentance.

Tattoo is haram, or forbidden in Islam, although ulemas differ in opinions about the necessity to remove the tattoo if one has repent from their mistake.

In one opinion, ulema sugests tattoo ink gets in the way of purification water that one must take before praying daily prayer, making their pray impure before God. Others, however, think that the skin gets purified either way, with or without tattoo. Some ulema even argue that removing tattoo itself is self-harm, which is also forbidden in Islam.

For those who prefer to follow the first opinion, Islamic Medical Service (IMS) and Baznas DKI Jakarta has been offering a free tattoo removal service at the Asahara Mosque located inside the West Jakarta Mayor's Office complex.

On May 5, tattoo removal service welcomes 60 participants each day, mostly from various areas in West Jakarta such as Cengkareng, Grogol Petamburan, Kalideres, Kembangan, Taman Sari, and Kebon Jeruk.

Most of the participants are hoodlums and gang members who had left their criminal past behind and see tattoo removal as a way to complete their journey to penitence.

Before getting free treatment, participants have to fill in their personal data, take a GeNose C19 test, and have their blood samples drawn. Then the committee will call each participant's name according to the queue number.

The tattoo is removed with a laser method. Full-color tattoos are harder to remove. They often require different laser guns and more sessions to get rid of completely. This method can cause some side effects, such as temporary burn scars determined by the depth and thickness of the tattoo ink on the body.

Despite its effects, laser tattoo removal is safe and does not cause too much pain. The laser breaks up the ink in the skin into tiny particles. The body's natural detoxification process then flushes out the particles without leaving heavy scarring. To reduce pain, participants also received anesthetic cream before the treatment.

This activity has been going on since the beginning of Ramadan. Previously, the tattoo removal service team had helped hundreds of residents in Central Jakarta, East Jakarta, and North Jakarta.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/vision/repent-and-clean-former-hoodlums-remove-tattoos-as-penitenc