Ramadhan Begins! Sectarian Reminders Issued!

“Based on all the input we received, we decided that the first day of Ramadhan will fall on Monday, June 6,” Lukman Hakim told reporters at a press conference.  http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/06/05/indonesia-declares-ramadhan-beginsmonday.html

I do wish my Muslim friends and neighbours a Happy Ramadhan.

But off we go again, those silly little curtains erected across the front of street food stalls, like my little warteg where I usually go for a filling two-dollar lunch…



...a peculiar fanatic folly, as if passing Muslims will forget their fasting if they catch sight of me tucking into perkadel, tempe, tahu pare, etc.

In fact, it will enhance their virtuous self-denial if they see me eating, because what sort of commitment to abstinence is it, what sort of will-power do they need to muster, if alternatives are hidden from their gaze?

The same point arises in respect of Lukman’s further words.

The minister also called on owners of entertainment businesses, especially nightclubs, to temporarily close or adjust the running of their businesses during Ramadhan to respect the fasting month.

Why on earth should they close?

That’s not ‘respect’ but a kow-tow!

Not every Muslim feels like experiencing a month of tedium. And Jakarta has large minorities of Christians, Buddhists etc. who are not fasting at all!

As mentioned in past posts, the late President Gus Dur, a noted Islamic scholar, had a healthier perspective, viz.


  • gus dur fasting

‘If we fasting Muslims want respect, let us also respect those who aren’t fasting.’


In other words, live and let live!

If you don’t want to eat and drink and have fun, fine, but it’s outrageous to tell others, who do want to carry on as normal, that they may not.


  • main-lukman-hakim4

Minister of Religion Lukman


  • Lukman is a fairly sensible minister, a huge improvement on his predecessor, the notorious Suryadharma Ali, whom we used to report on all too often.

Ali1 Ali  

Good Indonesians Denounce ArchBigot Ali’s Latest Intolerant Outburst


But whatever Lukman thinks himself, he has many intolerants to reckon with, not merely the IslamoNazi hoodlum gangs like the FPI…



IslamoNazi FPI louts practicing devout introspection at a previous Ramadhan


…but also the state-sponsored self-styled ‘scholars’ of the MUI, whose leaders talk against violence but can then engage in verbal diarrhoea like this. .

Islamist ‘Scholars’ – “Don’t Complain if You’re Attacked!” 

So we just have to put up with the sectarian shut-downs, though not without complaint – I’ll be recording some of the antics in the weeks ahead.

But here’s what’s most disturbing about Lukman’s statement.

“I also remind the media to support the government’s mission to preserve harmony during the holy month,” he added.

Well, some of the media are under year-round censorship here. Even the film ‘Noah’ was outlawed…

Noah’ Banned – Who’s Next? State Censors or Sectarian Enforcers? 

… and in the past, the MUI have used the state censor board as a cypher to apply their prudery.

Dimana Bokong2nya? – Where Are Our Buttocks? 

But exactly what does the Minister means about the media’s role?

That merits further study. I’ll be back.