Indonesian Ulema tell Muslims that dressing up as Santa Claus is prohibited
by Mathias Hariyadi

Showing accessories or clothes that reflect a non-Islamic tradition is against the law. The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) issued fatwa 56/2016 against the increasingly Christmassy atmosphere that is pervading public spaces. The group The MUI called on Muslims not to "mix" with a foreign culture.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) yesterday issued a fatwa banning non-Muslim attire and accessories at Christmas time.

Ruling no 56/2016 states that it is haram (forbidden) to use non-Islamic items. Dressing up as Santa Claus or sporting Christmas-themed gadgets are absolutely prohibited.

"Religious images and accessories are used intentionally to show the identity of a certain religion, and represent that tradition and rites,” said Hasanuddin, head of the committee that drafted the fatwa. “For this reason, using non-Islamic accessories is against the law, as is asking Muslims to sport them."

The Islamic leader added that the fatwa was issued in response to the increasingly Christmassy atmosphere that is spreading all over Indonesia.

Advertising and employees in bars and supermarkets dressed up as Santa show accessories deemed as Christian. For Hasanuddin, “This tradition harms people's faith”.

The MUI went further, calling on Muslims not to "mix" Islam with the traditions that are not part of it. Hence, Muslims cannot sell or buy Christmas items, whilst employers cannot force Muslims to sport Christmas attire.

Yesterday, several members of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) stormed a car dealership in Bekasi (West Java) and threatened the owner who wanted his employees to wear a Christmas outfit.