29 May, 2015 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile






mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 02/06/2013
INDONESIA
Moderate Muslims and Islamists clash over Chinese New Year
by Mathias Hariyadi
Controversy surrounds the celebration. For extremists, it is a non-Islamic, Buddhist celebration, and should therefore not be observed. For moderates, it is part of the country's tradition and culture. President Yudhoyono is criticised for failing to protect minorities and stopping fundamentalism.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - A few days before Chinese New Year, known as 'Imlek' in Indonesia, moderate and extremist Muslims are embroiled in a row over the celebration. For the former, there is nothing more natural than to celebrate the Lunar New Year, which begins this Friday and marks the start of the Year of the Snake. For the latter, the event can only lead people astray, and as a Buddhist celebration, it is un-Islamic and should be banned. For most Indonesians however, it is a "great celebration," a family affair when schools, offices and businesses are closed.

The controversy began when some radical Muslim clerics in Solo and Surakarta, central Java, made public statements against the observance, first among them, Zainal Arifin, head of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) in Surakarta. In his view, Imlek is unworthy of celebration because "it is not Islamic, but Buddhist." Many other radical Muslim clerics share his view, and are planning a campaign against feast days that are not part of the Islamic tradition.

Moderate Muslim leaders disagree. For them, it is "both legitimate and understandable" that Muslims may want to mark the start of the Year of the Snake. In Indonesia at least, the event does not have only religious connotations but is a major cultural event with dances, songs and shows, like 'barongsai', the dragon dance. In fact, for Kiai Hajj Abdul Muhaimin, president of Yogyakarta's Interfaith Forum, Muslims can celebrate Imlek.

Conversely, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has come under criticism for failing to protect minority cultures as part of the country's heritage. For many years in fact, Indonesia's Chinese community had not been allowed to celebrate their New Year.

In 1967, General Suharto issued a decree banning all Chinese cultural practices in the country following the death of seven top military officers on 30 September 1965, which was pinned the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI). For decades thereafter, anything that was Chinese (objects, celebrations or events) was outlawed, including Imlek (AKA Sin Cia, Chinese day in Indonesian).

In 2000, the late reformist President Abdurrahman Wahid (AKA Gus Dur) lifted the ban and allowed Chinese-Indonesians to celebrate openly their traditions.

Since then, many Indonesians began studying traditional Chinese dances, like the dragon dance, as well as Mandarin.

For the past three years, Imlek has been a national holiday.


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
03/09/2010 INDONESIA
Three die in anti-terror raid, one masterminded Bali massacre
by Mathias Hariyadi
11/29/2011 INDONESIA
Java: Muslims and Catholics marching together to promote good "jihad"
by Mathias Hariyadi
10/08/2011 INDONESIA
Jakarta, moderate Muslims against 300 Islamic extremist websites: block them
by Mathias Hariyadi
09/22/2007 INDONESIA
East Java, Muslims destroy a radical mosque
by Mathias Hariyadi
01/10/2013 INDONESIA
For moderate Muslims, ban on women straddling motorbikes not based on Sharia
by Mathias Hariyadi

Editor's choices
ASIA
Vigil for persecuted Christians, our teachers in the mission in the West
by Bernardo CervelleraThe "wall of indifference and cynicism" and the silence and apathy so often denounced by Pope Francis have become almost a fortress. Such persecution reflects confessional manipulation, which slams Islam as such, and ideological manipulation, which forgets what is happening in North Korea or China. An increasingly post-Christian Europe seems disinterested in Christians.
RUSSIA – CHINA
Moscow Patriarchate: China authorises the ordination of Chinese Orthodox priests on its territory
by Marta AllevatoMetropolitan Hilarion, the Moscow Patriarchate’s ‘foreign minister’, made the announcement after a visit to China where he met the leaders of the State Administration for Religious Affairs. The first priest should serve in Harbin. Two more ordinations are expected. With a new Cold War as the background, the Moscow-Beijing strategic alliance also has a Church connection with the People's Republic recognising the latter’s 'political' role in Russia.
VATICAN
Pope: We and the four new saints, witnesses of the Resurrection "where forgetfulness of God and human disorientation are most evident "Francis proclaims four religious sisters saints: one French, one Italian, two Palestinians: Maria Alfonsina Danil Ghattas, the foundress of the Sisters of the Rosary, and the Carmelite Maria of Crucified Jesus (nee Maria Bawardy). Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority present. "Abiding in Christ" and cultivating “unity among us" are essential signs of witness. Maria Bawardy, "instrument of encounter and communion with the Muslim world".

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.