11/20/2009, 00.00
INDONESIA

Indonesian Ulema boycott the apocalyptic "2012": its blasphemous

Mathias Hariyadi
Dispute sparked by the story the day of reckoning: a mosque is razed to the ground and salvation is possible only in a church. In various areas of the country fundamentalists prevent the screening of the film and raid internet-points. Islamic leader: it is Christian proselytizing. Moderate Muslim: it is just a movie.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - The Indonesian Council of Ulema (MUI) have condemned for blasphemy, the apocalyptic movie "2012" by Roland Emmerich and is urging Muslims to boycott the country's cinemas. The latest work of director and author of "Independence Day" and "The Day After Tomorrow" contains scenes which contravene the principles of Islam; Muslim leaders, in fact, feel outraged because the salvation of a family in the "doomsday" scenario hinges on their decision to "shelter in a church," while the film shows the complete destruction of a mosque.

The resolution of the MUI has sparked deep controversy in Indonesia, three months on from the edict that  branded as "illegal” smoking for women. Today Islamic leaders are railing against "2012" by Emmerich, a film inspired by an ancient Mayan prophecy that the world will end December 21, 2012. The blockbuster shows "illegal" scenes and conveys the message that "salvation is achieved only in the church".  

The controversy against the film first broke out last week in the district of Malang in East Java, where the leader of local ulema also issued an "edict" in which he called the local residents to boycott the movie in theatres. According to Kiai Hajj Mahmoud Zubaidi the film sends "confusing messages" and adds that "the D-day for Muslims is secret and only God knows when it will happen.    

The Ulema’s stance is likely to unleash a bitter controversy in the country, which will see "two different sides" in opposition. Meanwhile, cinemas are being and the Muslim moderate wing is stressing that "it's only a movie" and has "nothing to do with faith."  

In Surakarta Central Java, local MUI leaders have imposed a block on screenings in cinemas. In Stubondo district in the province of East Java, fundamentalists raided internet points to prevent the downloading of the film. "We condemn it in absolute - says Kiai Hajj Abdullah Faqih Gufron - The Movie is unlawful, because it leaves the Sitibondo population defenceless before a controversial scene." He also called for the intervention of Tifatul Sembiring, Minister for Communications and former president of the semi-fundamentalist movement Prosperous Justice Party (PKS).

Amidhan, head of the National MUI, adds that the Indonesian agency responsible for censorship (LSF) has not taken "precautions" by approving "so sensitive" a scene. He refers to the images of "doomsday" in which we witness the destruction of a mosque, while the Christian building is perfectly intact. "Every proselytism of the faith [Christian] – he ends  - must be cut."  

Another Mui leader, Ma'ruf Kiai Hajj Amin has a different opinion: "it is just fiction - he explains - a product of creativity and imagination. Nobody knows when the day of judgement will arrive. I do not see anything illegal in it and think we should let people enjoy the film".   Saifullah Yusuf, deputy governor of East Java, invites Muslim leaders to be "wiser when dealing with these topics: a film is a product of human creativity and the MUI should not disseminate unsolicited advice."

 

 

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