Chinese New Year Declared as 'Haram' by Muslims

afako

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As Indonesia and other countries with Chinese diasporas welcome the Year of the Snake, some Islamic leaders have ignited a religious row by declaring the celebrations "haram" and off limits for Muslims.

After decades of repression under the dictatorship of Suharto, who rose to power after a bloody purge of communists and Chinese in the late 1960s, Chinese-Indonesians are now accepted in mainstream society of the largely Muslim nation.

Lunar New Year is also now a public holiday in Indonesia, where it is known as "Imlek".

But a local leader of the country's top Muslim clerical body has declared the celebration "haram" (forbidden), saying its rituals are tied up with Buddhist practices, particularly those that take place in temples.

"We cannot separate religion from culture, so we're being cautious," Zainal Arifin, head of the Indonesian Ulema Council in the city of Solo, told news agency AFP.

"And if it's part of a religious ritual, we must not celebrate it. It's the same case with Christmas and other religious celebrations."

The hardline Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) said clerics would spread the message to Muslims through mosque loudspeakers, and warn Chinese-Indonesians not to invite Muslims to celebrations.

But ethnic Chinese leaders say such comments about a traditional festival are illogical and a sign of outdated thinking in some Islamic organisations.

"Chinese New Year is not a religious celebration and it's especially not a Buddhist celebration," said Andrew Susanto, president of the Chinese-Indonesian Youth Association.

He said marking the Lunar New Year was no different to celebrating the new year in other cultures.

"I don't think that's what most Indonesians think," he said, adding the festivities have over time become an Indonesian tradition.

Despite the cleric's comments, a Javanese-style Lunar New Year celebration was held in Solo last week, with thousands joining a procession akin to those commemorating Islamic holidays.

Local monks released 888 songbirds and catfish – eight being a lucky Chinese number – and distributed cakes to the jovial crowd.

Chinese-Indonesians make up around nine million of the nation's 240 million people, most practising Christianity, Buddhism or Confucianism.

Suharto, who ruled Indonesia with an iron fist for more than three decades until 1998, banned Chinese languages and symbols, and forced Chinese-Indonesians to change their names.

His rule began after an anti-Communist purge in 1965-1966, in which at least 500,000 people considered communists or sympathisers – many Chinese – were killed and others tortured. Rights activists say two million perished.

Abdurrahman Wahid, an Islamic religious leader and politician who became the first elected president after Suharto stepped down, lifted the ban on Chinese culture in 2000, allowing ethnic Chinese to once again openly celebrate Lunar New Year.

In Glodok – Jakarta's Chinatown which was reduced to rubble in the 1998 riots at the end of Suharto's rule – two Muslim women wearing headscarves soaked up the atmosphere, as vendors sold traditional red money envelopes and cobra oil to mark the Year of the Snake.

"I'm Muslim, so I don't myself take part in celebrations," said one of the women, Widi Astudi, 37, as she visited a Buddhist temple Friday.

"But Indonesia is a tolerant country, and the Chinese here are Indonesians, so there's no harm in visiting the temples and appreciating how they celebrate."

Indonesia Islam leaders stir row over 'Buddhist' Chinese New Year | South China Morning Post

China should submit to the only True God Allah.

It is the Duty of Every Muslim to Spread Islam by any means and Pakistanis will achieve Islamic Republic of China by Allah's Blessings!
 

Novice

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So that last statement is part of the article? I wish :)

Interesting turn of events.
 

JBH22

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China should submit to the only True God Allah.

It is the Duty of Every Muslim to Spread Islam by any means and Pakistanis will achieve Islamic Republic of China by Allah's Blessings!
God willing the whole world will submit soon :)
 

afako

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Pakistanis will come Riding on Chariots with Islamic Swords to make Chinese submit to Allah. If needed, they may launch Hatf Nuclear Missile ön China until Chinese Convert to Islam to fulfil Orders of Allah.
 

Decklander

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Well the reason Pakis are against the new year celebrations of Chinese is only for the fact that this new chinese year is the year of Snake and china must choose which snake they want to live with, Pak or the reptile.
 

t_co

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So... a Muslim cleric speaks out against Lunar New Year celebrations in Indonesia, and somehow that is relevant to Sino-Pakistani relations?

Allies don't need to share cultural or religious similarities. Just look at the United States and Saudi Arabia.
 

no smoking

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Well the reason Pakis are against the new year celebrations of Chinese is only for the fact that this new chinese year is the year of Snake and china must choose which snake they want to live with, Pak or the reptile.
Funny! I didn't see Pakistan mentioned in this article? Now I understand how much our india friends are obssessed by Sino-Pak relationship.
 

roma

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the declaration was made by a hardliner - so no one pays much attention

in contrast , the declarations made by prominent mufti in saudi arabia - esp those in mecca would have a totally different effect
 

Sam2012

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Funny! I didn't see Pakistan mentioned in this article? Now I understand how much our india friends are obssessed by Sino-Pak relationship.
Hello We know u both are step brother & sister . Its not about Pakistan & China relationship , Its about islamic view point u nincompoop

And your relationship with pakistan is just like flesh trade :thumb: which every one understand
 

Ray

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I don't understand as to why the clerics must always call everything they don't like as haram.

Muslims do celebrate with aplomb many of their festivals, thought by the Wahhabi diktats fun, music, song, dance and everything that bring some joy is haram.

In India, Muslims do join in and take part in many non Muslim festivals as other join in for Muslim festivals.

In Pakistan, they are hardly in a position to join any festival since they are being bombed daily in their sectarians fights for supremacy with each claiming to be the true way to Islam, while the other is haram.

But I don't think Pakistan would be too averse in allowing the celebrations if the Chinese New Year is celebrated there, because they know money and security comes from China, Of course, they will not participate.

I wonder if the Pakistanis have allowed any Chinatowns to be established as it is established in India and elsewhere in the world.

Most Islamic countries do not allow or take it kindly to celebrations of non Islamic festivals.

Indonesia which was tolerant is veering towards intolerance, thanks to the spread of the Wahhabi form of Islam!
 
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Blackwater

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This is against the ""All weather treaty"" of UN charter 420:pound::pound::pound:
 

rock127

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wtf...

This "This is haram and that is haram" is found in this peace loving tolerant religion only.
 

Ray

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Hello We know u both are step brother & sister . Its not about Pakistan & China relationship , Its about islamic view point u nincompoop

And your relationship with pakistan is just like flesh trade :thumb: which every one understand
I think you are taking the video of the Chinese massage parlour in Pakistan that turned out to be a sex shop too seriously.
 

rock127

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I think you are taking the video of the Chinese massage parlour in Pakistan that turned out to be a sex shop too seriously.
Pakis must be liking the "change" with Chinese girls since they are in animal porn usually.
 

Shirman

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Indonesia has a history of ill-treatment of ethnic Chinese...Many Indonesian Chinese had to see an exodus n resettled in New-Zealand, Singapore, Australia, Hongkong n Taiwan in 80s n 90s......I remember one proud Muslim Indonesian whom i met Proudly replied "We Killed n EXTERMINATED THEM":shocked: when i raised the question of Indonesian Chinese..Malaysia compared to Indonesia has a good Muslim-Malay n Malay Chinese relations to speak of.......
 

no smoking

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Hello We know u both are step brother & sister . Its not about Pakistan & China relationship , Its about islamic view point u nincompoop

And your relationship with pakistan is just like flesh trade :thumb: which every one understand
Unfortunately, the relationship between pakistan and china includes maily one thing which every indian does fully understand!
 

t_co

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Hello We know u both are step brother & sister . Its not about Pakistan & China relationship , Its about islamic view point u nincompoop

And your relationship with pakistan is just like flesh trade :thumb: which every one understand
Except Sino-Islamic relations are not the same as Sino-Pakistani relations, either...
 

spikey360

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Except Sino-Islamic relations are not the same as Sino-Pakistani relations, either...
They are one and the same. Didn't you know, they call it The Islamic Republic of Pakistan?
They claim to be the protecters of Islam.
 

t_co

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They are one and the same. Didn't you know, they call it The Islamic Republic of Pakistan?
They claim to be the protecters of Islam.
Then why isn't China full allies of Saudi Arabia? They are also protectors of Islam.
 

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