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!