Wednesday, August 12, 2009

MUI requests total closure for Ramadan

The Riau Islands chapter of the Indonesia Ulema Council (MUI) has asked regencies and municipalities in the province to totally close entertainment centers, such as pubs, discotheques and massage parlours, for the duration of the upcoming Ramadan Muslim fasting month.

MUI Riau Islands chapter chairman Azhari Abbas told The Jakarta Post on Thursday the council urged the administrations of Batam, Tanjung Pinang, Karimun, Bintan, Lingga, Natuna and Anambas to close entertainment centers, starting on Aug. 21, the first eve of Ramadan.

"We have sent a circulating letter to the regency and municipality administrations. The administrations could use the letter as a basis on the closure of the entertainment centers during Ramadan."

He claimed the Tanjung Pinang muncipality administration had agreed to the MUI's request and promised to implement the total closure of the entertainment centers in the city during Ramadan.

According Azahari, the council was still approaching Batam administration and urged the municipality to close entertainment centers in the city along the fasting month.

However, Batam has its own regulation that manages the closure of entertainment centers and will close them for just four days during Ramadan, ignoring the Islamic preachers' call for total closure.

The regulation states that the closure is only the first day of Ramadan, the Koran Revelation Day on the 17th day of Ramadan and two days of Idul Fitri celebrations.

"Batam is the only city in the province that does not involve ulema in the closure of entertainment centers during Ramadan. We are very disappointed," he said.

He argued the closure of the entertainment centers along the fasting month was important to prevent immoral activities that could disturb the serenity of worship during Ramadan.

During Ramadan last year, the Batam administration also closed the entertainment for four days. The closure of entertainment along the month was feared to decrease income of workers in tourism sector.

Batam municipality spokesperson Yusfa Hendri said the closure of entertainment centers during Ramadan would be regulated through a muncipal regulation, confirming that last year the centers had been closed only for four days.

"We have to consider workers who depend their incomes on the entertainment centers. It's impossible to close the entertainment centers throughout the month."

However, he said the municipality would involve the ulema council in the planned closure of the entertainment centers during Ramadan.

"We would involve ulema in the closing and opening policies of the entertainment centers," he added, responding to the council's call.

From Jakarta Post

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