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Jakarta Post

Santa hat steals show at Gus Dur's annual memorial

  • Safrin La Batu

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, December 24, 2016   /  09:30 am
Santa hat steals show at Gus Dur's annual memorial Standout: Alim (center) wears a Santa hat as he sits among Muslim men participating in an event held to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the death of Indonesia's fourth president, Abdurrahman "Gus Dur" Wahid, on Friday in South Jakarta. (JP/Safrin La Batu)

A Muslim participant stole the crowd’s attention on Friday evening during an event held to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the death of Indonesia's fourth president, Abdurrahman "Gus Dur" Wahid, as he was wearing a red Santa hat paired with an Islamic male shirt, locally known as baju koko.

Wearing Christmas accessories such as a Santa hat while also wearing Muslim attire is not common among Muslims, especially after the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) issued an edict recently stating that it is haram (forbidden) for Muslims to wear Christmas attire.

Alim, the participant, said he wore the hat in respect of Christian-Indonesians who would celebrate Christmas on Sunday.

"It is just a gesture of tolerance," he said.

(Read also: MUI edict on Christmas imbues spirit of tolerance: Minister)

The death of Gus Dur has been commemorated annually to honor his legacy and revive his ideas in relation with pluralism and protecting minority groups.

Gus Dur's eldest daughter, Alissa, said the visions and ideas of her late father were still relevant, especially amid growing sectarianism.

"In response to the increasing hate culture among Muslims and the adherents of other faiths recently, we feel it has become more relevant to propagate the Islamic values practiced by Gus Dur," Alissa said in a statement.

Gus Dur, who served as Indonesia’s fourth president from 1999 to 2001, was known for his work in promoting tolerance and pluralism in the country, which earned him the title of "The Father of Pluralism".

(Read also: Gus Dur would have loudly condemned recent acts of intolerance: Activist)

A year after taking office, Gus Dur issued a regulation that officially recognized Confucianism, the religion adhered to by many Chinese-Indonesians, who had been forbidden to display their culture during president’s Soeharto’s authoritarian reign.

He passed away on Dec. 30, 2009, at the Cipto Mangunkusumo General Hospital in Jakarta because of complications from several diseases, including diabetes, stroke and heart disease. He was 69. (hwa)

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