» 12/17/2014, 00.00
Central Java, Islamist threat: Scrap Christmas symbols and no celebrations
Dozens of Islamic extremists of the Sukaharjo District attacked three shops in Solo. The group has forced retailers not to allow employees to wear Christmas symbols or to promote celebrations. The Mayor of Banda Aceh issued a public announcement prohibiting Muslims to attend Christian events.
Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Dozens of Islamic extremists in the Sukaharjo District
have attacked three shopping centers in Solo, better known as Surakarta in
Central Java, because they were selling and promoting items, clothing and
events related to Christmas. The group has told the owners and managers of commercial
activities, not to "force" Muslim employees to wear or use clothing
or other items related to the Christian festivity in this high-season shopping period.
After the province of Aceh, the only one in which Sharia law is implemented, a
radical vision of faith is on the increase in other parts of Indonesia as well,
as is the intention to introduce legislation or regulations relating to customs
derived from Islamic law.
There are five local hard-line groups behind the raids which took place on the
evening of 15 December against the Solo shops that exhibited items relating to
Christmas. They are Surakarta's Sharia Council (DSKS), The Islamic Warrior
Group of Surakarta (LUIS), Al Ishlah
Brigade, the Jemaah Anshorut Tauhid and the Jemaah Ansarus Sharia. The Solo
Paragon Lifestlye Mall, the Solo Grand Mall and the Luwes Shop in Kartasura
were the targets of the "attention" of the promoters of the Islamic
After bursting into the shops, they imposed a ban on the retailers prohibiting
them to wear or display any Christmas item, even if for mere commercial reasons.
In recent years it has become common practice in Indonesia, the world's most
populous Muslim nation, to put up Christmas and New Year symbols, also amongst
the shopkeepers. The group's spokesman, Endro Sudarsono, said that the three retail
business groups have pledged to revue and evaluate their sales policy.
However intimidation on the part of the Islamic hard-liners are not limited to
retailers: last week a Muslim leader in Jakarta calling on President Joko
"Jokowi" Widodo not to take
part in any Christmas celebration sponsored by Catholics or Christians. He asks
that celebrations be low-key to not disturb the sensibility of Muslims.
Meanwhile in Aceh, prohibitions to celebrate Christmas are law: last week the Mayor
of Banda Aceh, Illiza Illiza Sa'aduddin Djamal, issued a municipal regulation that forbids
Muslims to join and participate in any event and Christmas service which may be
organized in Aceh.
Catholics in Bogor (West Java) not allowed to celebrate Christmas Mass
The authorities ban all Christian activities, citing as their reason the lack of a proper place of worship, which Catholics have been demanding for years without success. Increasingly, radical Muslims are becoming intolerant towards Christian groups.
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