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Jakarta Post

MUI heresy fears behind debate on religious greetings

  • Ivany Atina Arbi
    Ivany Atina Arbi

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, November 12, 2019   /  08:49 pm
The Jakarta Post Image
Harmonious: Balinese Hindu adherents clad in white walk pass Muslims celebrating the ketupat tradition on Sanur Beach in Bali. (The Jakarta Post/Zul Trio Anggono)

The controversy surrounding the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI)’s advice to Muslims to avoid using greetings from other religions has some people wondering: why don’t we stop using religious greetings altogether? East Java MUI chairman Abdusshomad Buchori issued a letter last week advising Muslims against using greetings from other religions, calling the practice a form of bid’ah (heresy). “For Muslims, it’s enough to say assalamu 'alaikum,” he wrote. “That way, Muslims can avoid syubhat [doubtful] actions that can harm the purity of their religion.” It is common practice for President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo — who is Muslim — and many government officials to open their speeches with a litany of traditional religious greetings. They start with assalamu 'alaikum for Musl...