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Jakarta Post

Indonesia Ulema Council defends fatwa on Christmas attributes ban

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, December 20, 2016   /  05:17 pm
Indonesia Ulema Council defends fatwa on Christmas attributes ban Security concerns: National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian (left) wipes his forehead as Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) chairman Ma’ruf Amin (center) and Islam Defenders Front (FPI) chairman Rizieq Shihab look on during a press conference at the MUI in Jakarta in a recent photo. Indonesia Ulema Council (MUI) chairman Ma'ruf Amin has defended the council's fatwa, or edict, prohibiting companies and business owners from forcing their employees to wear Christmas-related paraphernalia . (JP/Dhoni Setiawan)

Indonesia Ulema Council (MUI) chairman Ma'ruf Amin has defended the council's fatwa, or edict, prohibiting companies and business owners from forcing their employees to wear Christmas-related paraphernalia, saying that the fatwa was made based on feedback from Muslim congregations.

Ma'ruf claimed that the council had received complaints for years that many bosses, including hoteliers, shop owners and government officials, had required their workers to wear Christmas-related paraphernalia and attire during the celebrations even though the workers were Muslims.

"[The workers] had to follow since they were just employees. They were afraid of being fired," Ma'ruf said as quoted by Warta Kota in a press briefing at the council's office in Jakarta on Tuesday.

According to him, the council had been subject to complaints from Muslims for not taking a strong stance against such practices.

"That's why eventually, the council came up with issuing [the fatwa] this year," he explained.

Forcing Muslims to wear Christmas-related attire, he said, was against the values of Pancasila and the Constitution, adding that the council aimed at maintaining religious freedom in the country.

"[The fatwa] is part of the pluralist view," he said, calling on the government to understand the council's stance.

Over the weekend, the police came under fire for their failure to prevent members of the hardline Islam Defenders Front from cracking down on business establishments that allowed their employees to wear Christmas attributes.

Jan Sihar Aritonang, a professor at the Theology School Jakarta, said the council had wrongly identified symbols of consumerism, such as Santa hats, as part of Christianity. (dmr)

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