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Indonesian Religious Figures Weigh in on French President’s Comments

October 31, 2020, 10.40 PM

JAKARTA, – Indonesian Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi has condemned French President Emmanuel Macron over his refusal to condemn Charlie Hebdo magazine for republishing cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad.

“Freedom of speech and expression cannot run rampant to injure the honor, sanctity and holiness of any religion,” the retired general said in a statement on the Religious Affairs Ministry’s website on October 29.

“Adherents of one religion should respect the symbols of other religions that they find sacred. This includes visual representations of the Prophet Muhammad.”

He also expressed his appreciation of the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for summoning French Ambassador to Indonesia Olivier Chambard over Macron’s statement and called on Indonesia’s Muslims not to be provoked by them.

Also read: Indonesia Condemns French President's 'Islamic Separatist' Statement

The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) reiterated Fachrul. “We call on Indonesia’s Muslims not to boycott French products, as was done by Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates,” state new agency Antara quoted MUI spokesman Muhyidin as saying.

“If Indonesian Muslims wish to convey their grievances [towards France], they may do so in an orderly, lawful and nonviolent manner.”

But he slammed Macron about his comments on 'Islamic separatists' in France, on grounds that they are unfitting for a world leader.

Also read: Former Indonesian VP Jusuf Kalla Continues Global Humanitarian Work

Jaringan Moderasi Indonesia's (Indonesian Muslim Moderate Network) Islah Bahrawi urged for a better understanding of Macron’s statement before reaching any conclusions.

“Many [Indonesian] Muslims often act by following others’ leads. When a religiously tinged issue arises, they often act before they think or gathered the facts beforehand,” he said. “That is why the militant [impulses] of many Muslims are often used for political ends.”

Macron drew outrage in Muslim majority countries like Saudi Arabia and Turkey following his comments about ‘Muslim separatism’ in France following attacks by Muslim radicals in Paris and Nice that killed four people.

(Writer/Editor: Dani Prabowo)


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