Issues: `Clerics call for
ban on the 2012 movie'

Several regional branches of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), the country's highest self-proclaimed Islamic authority, say the doomsday-themed Hollywood movie 2012 must be banned because it runs counter to their beliefs. MUI South Kalimantan chairman Asywadie Syukur said Tuesday the government had to pay serious attention to matters that could mislead or confuse Muslims, particularly a movie like 2012, which is now playing at theaters nationwide.

"On the other hand, Muslims should also be careful not get carried away by anything negative or go against religious values," he said. Members of the MUI's Situbondo, East Java, branch raided several Internet cafes in the area to confiscate pirated DVDs of the movie and prevent Internet users from downloading it. "We condemn the 2012 doomsday movie because it has caused a lot of unrest in the Situbondo community," said Situbondo MUI head K.H. Abdullah Faqih Gufron, ignorant of the fact that the raids carried out by his people counted as unrest.

Your comments:
I think the whole matter is simply "much ado about nothing." A rather similar reaction took place among Christians worldwide after the release of Mel Gibson's The Passion of Christ.

But banning it is a reaction much too extreme and unnecessary.

What is the MUI trying to protect its people from, seeing that the movie is just suggesting how the apocalypse will happen, and not directly attacking others' religious points of view?

I believe Muslims are mature and clear-headed enough to accept 2012 as mere entertainment.

Seeing as it's a Hollywood movie, surely the producers and scriptwriters have to set everything in accordance with the belief of most Americans, who are 90 percent Christians. So, it's just a matter of a paradigm clash when the movie is played in theaters outside the United States I think the MUI is threatened by its own fear, not the message of the movie itself.

Shinta Dhammayanti Kaawoan
Mojokerto, East Java

There are no words to describe this irrational ban but other than the religious authorities are blinded by ignorance and ego.

The only misleading information given to their followers is a twisted agenda in their own religious definition. Any smart religious or nonreligious person would understand that doomsday is in the hands of God.

Only religious authorities are able to brainwash their own flocks . If people in Indonesia, regardless of faith, understand that everyone is equal in the eyes of God and that God is always inside them spiritually, I believe this country would thrive.

Edward K.
Los Angeles, CA

I think it is ridiculous that the MUI wanted to ban a movie for such a ridiculous reason. It seems the MUI underestimates Muslims in Indonesia. It seems the MUI assumes that Muslims in Indonesia can't differentiate a movie from a dogma. It's just a movie, don't take it too seriously.

A movie is there to entertain us, right? It's just a kind of entertainment. Muslims in Indonesia are not stupid.

Why don't they enjoy the movie, take the positive side and learn from it, instead of talking about things that they (the MUI) don't even understand.

To the MUI, next time, before banning things, try to understand them first. See the whole movie first, before talking about things that do not even exist.

Arum Kusumawardani

Can you distinguish between reality and fiction?


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