The Jakarta Post
The management of Olympic Garden Mall in Malang, East Java, has advised its tenants to refrain from displaying Christmas-themed accessories out of concern that hardline groups will conduct raids.
The policy was announced in a circular issued by the mall’s management on Nov. 25, which immediately went viral on social media ahead of the Christmas holiday season in December.
The mall's tenant relations head Peptina Magdalena said the circular was only meant to advise the mall’s tenants and their employees not to wear Christmas accessories but was not an outright ban.
Stores are still permitted to put up Christmas-themed ornaments and decorations, such as Christmas trees and lights.
“I have to emphasize that [the circular] is only advice, not a prohibition,” Peptina said as quoted by kompas.com on Tuesday.
It is not the first time the mall’s management has issued such a circular, having done so four years ago after mass groups conducted raids in response to the presence of Christmas accessories in the mall.
In the past, Peptina said some store employees wore Christmas attributes and had been targeted during the raids.
“When we first issued this circular, it was to anticipate any sudden raids,” she said, “We are only being proactive. We don’t have any other motive or intention.”
In the past, several hardline Islamic organizations, including the Islam Defenders Front (FPI), made headlines for raiding public places and malls to spread the Indonesian Ulema Council’s (MUI) edict forbidding Muslims from wearing Christmas attire, such as Santa hats.
In December 2016, for instance, a number of FPI members raided shopping malls in Surabaya, East Java, to publicize the MUI’s edict and check whether outlets had ordered employees to wear Christmas attire. Hundreds of Surabaya Police officers were deployed to escort the FPI members while they conducted the raid. (dpk)