National Police Chief Tito Karnavian has spoken out against those enforcing the Indonesian Ulema Council’s (MUI) fatwa as a national law.
As expected, the MUI’s fatwa banning business owners from pressuring their Muslim employees to wear the Santa hat and other Christmas accessories have brought about more acts of religious intolerance.
Despite MUI’s fatwas not being considered as laws in Indonesia, some local police groups believe and act as they actually are. This is evident in the reported incident where around 200 police officers escorted members of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) early this week, where FPI members were socializing the fatwa across Surabaya malls.
On Monday, December 19, National Police Chief Tito Karnavian emphasized his disagreement with those imposing the MUI’s fatwa as a national law. The police chief was particularly referring to members of the police force, following news about the Bekasi Metro Police issuing a memorandum reminding employers and business owners to observe the fatwa.
Karnavian told reporters that he had already given a heavy warning to Umar Surya Fana, Bekasi Metro Police chief, that his actions on referencing the MUI’s fatwa as a law is not allowed. The police chief urged the MUI to be mindful about religious tolerance, particularly when outlining a fatwa.
Karnavian suggested that for those mass organizations wanting to enforce the fatwa, they must do so in a way that does not promote fear or violence among the public.
Immediately after hearing from the National Police head, Fana reported that he will make the appropriate amendment to his circular, prohibiting mass organizations from carrying out sweeping in the lead up to the Christmas holidays. ‘Sweeping’ is used to refer to mass groups, including the FPI, that go about the community and intimidate business owners with violent tactics if they comply with their religious regulations.
Image credit: Reuters