Rising Religious Tensions in Indonesia after Islamic Edict
Rising religious tensions not only rise in Indonesia due to the blasphemy trial of Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (Ahok) but also due to a recently issued edict by the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), Indonesia's highest Islamic clerical body. This edict prohibits Muslims to wear Christmas clothes and accessories and primarily aims at those Muslims who work in shopping malls where many restaurant and shop owners make their staff dress up in "Christmas-spirit".
Several shopping malls in Surabaya (East Java) were raided on Sunday (18/12) by Islamic hardliners, such as the hardline Islamic Defenders' Front (FPI), seeking shops and offices that make their Muslim staff wear Christmas attire. The MUI responded to these acts by saying its edict should not be used as a justification for raiding.
Reportedly, various local police stations in Indonesia issued circulars upholding the MUI's edict. However, they were later reprimanded by the National Police, which stated that the edict of the MUI cannot be enforced as a law. National Police also stated that it is an illegal act for mass organizations to conduct sweepings across shopping malls.
• Politics & Law in Indonesia: Ahok's Blasphemy Trial
• Religion in Indonesian