17 February 2008

The Indonesian Ulema Council - Fatwa Time!

My understanding of the perceived powers of the Majelis Ulema Indonesia. The MUI is indeed a relic and must be preserved in the historical record but issuing fatwas against Valentine’s Day seems to be making moves in the wrong direction.

The fatwas of the MUI are not legally binding in the sense of rule of law in Indonesia, but that is to simplify to the extreme the force and weight that these fatwas carry. To use a boxing analogy the MUI punches well above its weight! However, the fatwas do not draw their strength from force of law but rather public pressures on government officials to not be labelled as being anti-Islam or bad Muslims for failure to heed the advice of the MUI as contained in the fatwa.

When you set up an organization to be the final determiner of what the Koran and haddiths say or are interpreted to say then you create a situation where you have to take the good with the not so good.

The other issue with fatwas and particularly the fatwa outlawing the beliefs of Ahmadiyah seem to be in direct contravention of the supposed provisions of the Constitution guaranteeing freedom of religion or belief. Just because something diverges from the mainstream does not make it automatically wrong or even misguided. Let’s face it if the Church could have had its way we would still be learning that the earth is square and that the sun revolves around the earth.

I was not surprised that the thread degenerated quickly into which religion is the more evil or which is the right path to paradise / heaven (this posting is based on a comment I made to the above thread). Men, women, and children have killed in the name of their respective Gods for many, many, many millenia and perhaps the MUI needs to issue a fatwa that on at least one day of every year people have to come together irrespective of their relevant faiths and spread and share some love — you do not have to call it Valentine’s Day, call it an inter-faith day of tolerance and peace for all I care, but let’s move on from the hate and the blame and the mistrust!


Patung said...

Hi Rob, thanks for the visit to IM, re. "degenerated quickly into which religion is the more evil or which is the right path to paradise / heaven" well that often happens, I get a bit tired of it, but generally the participants sort of 'know' each other and there isn't usually any great hostility in it.

By the way, boy you have a great rate of output here!

Rob Baiton said...

Hey Patung...I have visited often but only just recently started commenting...

I figured as much that at least some of the comments were among people who knew each other...And in that sad but perversely funny way it is the intense hostility of the comments that draws one back...

Sometimes it is a little bit of who can be the nastier but that in many ways is similar to life!

Thanks back for your visit to my humble abode!

Patung said...

Is it intense hostility, gee I must be inured to it then.

I've subscribed to your RSS feed for a while now, and I've got you in the top blog list, http://blogs.indonesiamatters.com/, although I'm sure you're not bothered about rankings, it's just a bit of fun.

Rob Baiton said...

"intense hostility" maybe I am too thin-skinned :)

What my point was really was that some of the exchanges are really personal (maybe because commentators know each other, I do not know) and some exhibit a good degree of hostility!

Some of the exchanges you could visualize as being the preliminary rounds to getting the gloves off and going at it for real in a nice entertaining bout of fist-a-cuffs!

It is always nice to be No. 1 and I have a bloody long way to go before that happens, if ever! Yep, not too fussed about rankings but always nice to be recognized, thanks!