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Indonesian CNY Public Holiday Imbroglio

Source: The Jakarta Post (ANTARA)
Posted on Sunday, February 10, 2013


The Chief of Surakarta's Indonesia Ulema Council (MUI), Zainal Arifin Adnan, has issued a fatwa forbidding any Muslim from participating in any Chinese New Year festivities, but several Indonesian Muslim leaders have been distancing themselves from the position that Chinese New Year is haram (forbidden).

Despite its official status as Indonesia's top Muslim clerical body, the MUI (Majelis Ulama Indonesia) is really more of an umbrella group covering many diverse Muslim organizations that are far from being of one voice and one opinion, with the 2 main members of MUI, Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama, regularly squabbling over the date of Muslim religious festival and holidays (2012-07-16, 2011-10-20, 2010-11-10, 2007-10-12, and 2006-10-24).

The Presidential Decision 19 (2002-04-11), issued by Indonesian President Megawati Soekarnoputri on April 9, 2002, finally (2002-02-18) made Chinese New Year (called Imlek in Indonesia) an official national public holiday, for the first time in Indonesia, after the previous year's declaration of Imlek as an official, albeit optional, public holiday (2001-01-19).


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