Issues of the day: Christmas greetings chime despite edict
Paper Edition | Page: 8
Dec. 26, p. 1
On Christmas Day, Muslims and Christians, from scavengers to affluent residents, lined up to extend holiday greetings to Jakarta Deputy Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama at his official residence in Kuningan, South Jakarta.
The deputy governor — the first Christian of Chinese descent to take a top job in the capital city since 1965 — hosted an open house to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ despite a mostly unheeded edict from the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) for Muslims not to wish Christians a happy Christmas let alone take part in festivities. The MUI had said wishing a happy Christmas was akin to confirming the “misguided” teachings of Christianity.
Ahok said that it was customary for high officials to hold an open house on religious festivals in a bid to stay in touch with residents of the city. “If other officials do it every Lebaran [the Idul Fitri Islamic holiday], I will do it on Christmas,” he said in his greeting speech, before inviting visitors to enjoy chicken satay, soto Betawi (beef and coconut milk soup) and meatballs that were served non-stop.
MUI, don’t make commands that everyone knows aren’t going to be adhered to. It is better that you think about Muslim prosperity, education and health rather than making useless, debatable and outrageous statements.
I am a Muslim, a Sunni. I want to be a good Muslim and I wish a very Merry Christmas to all of my Christian friends. Salam.
Even the Grand Mufti of Cairo stated publicly on his website the need for Muslims (in that case with Christian relatives) to not only greet, but also spend time with them during Christmas celebrations.
I just don’t understand where all this suppressed hate in the guise of religious orthodoxy comes from.
This article shows that more and more Indonesians, while remaining faithful to their own religions, are able to respect others’ beliefs.
Organizations such as the MUI are becoming more and more irrelevant, especially as they contradict both the teachings of the Prophet who taught tolerance and those of the state, Pancasila and the constitution.
Walter John Gomm
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