Gong Ci Xao Hai – Islamist ‘Scholar’ Harams Chinese New Year!

Last month, thousands, millions maybe, of Indonesian Muslims joined the rest of us in celebrating New Year. Not the Muslim New Year, which falls on a different date, but 2013 AD, by definition dating from Christ.

None of them felt remotely uncomfortable in doing so, because they are a cheerful people who like to party.

But now it’s Imlek, Chinese New Year, and some bigot in Central Java has forbidden his co-religionists from joining in the fun.

But happily, even his fellow-Muslims there have jumped in to point out how ill-informed his rant is!

Two local Muslim figures in Surakarta hold different views on how Muslims should react to Chinese New Year, locally known as Imlek, which falls on Sunday.

  • MUI-Indonesia
  • Surakarta’s Indonesia Ulema Council (MUI) chief Zainal Arifin Adnan has prohibited Muslims from participating in any Chinese New Year festivities at any level, let alone attend any prayers for the celebration.



He said that even if a Muslim was of Chinese descent, still he or she should keep a distance from such celebrations. “The celebration contains portions of Buddhist spiritual teachings and it is therefore prohibited for any Muslims to participate. The best attitude for a Muslim toward this event is to ignore it,” Zainal said on Tuesday.

What a mean-spirited man! But he was soon exposed to well-deserved scorn.

In contrast, Mohammad Dian Nafi of the al-Muayyad Islamic boarding school in Kartasura sees nothing wrong with Muslims attending celebrations because Chinese New Year was more of a cultural event than a religious one.

Like I keep telling you readers who think all Muslims are bad news, they’re not. The MUI often spout nonsense, but lots of Muslims treat them with indifference.

“The celebration is part of the Chinese people’s way of welcoming spring, which is usually perceived as the best time of the year. Thus it has nothing to do with religion and of course Muslims can join in the festivities, strengthening social relations with our ethnic Chinese brothers and sisters,” he said.

Nice to hear a voice of reason for a change, especially from a pesantren (Islamic boarding school)!