JAKARTA: A religious council in Indonesia has issued a fatwa (religious ruling) telling Muslims not to wear Christmas clothing, as ‘it is not permitted in the religion’.
The Indonesian Ulema Council stated that people should respect Christians’ right to celebrate, but should not join in because it is ‘haram’ i.e. not permitted in Islam.
The fatwa issued on December 14 says that the government should ‘prevent, monitor, and punish’ businesses who force Muslims to wear clothing which they feel goes against their religion.
Reports said the ruling prompted a ‘raid on Santa hats‘ at a shopping mall in Indonesian city, Surabaya, when police escorted members of the Islam Defenders Front to check if any shops had required staff to wear Christmas clothing.
According to the Jakarta Post, some businesses do require all workers to wear Santa hats in the holiday season, and many Muslims and Christians alike join in with the holiday celebrations.
But police have been criticised for helping to enforce the fatwa when it isn’t legally binding.
Their fatwa has prompted debate across the country about whether businesses should have the right to ask their employees to wear Santa hats.
Although the fatwa advised people ‘not to confuse Islam with the faith and worship of other religious beliefs’, it stressed that people should respect Christians’ right to celebrate their holidays.