TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – Micbachul Anama, the chairman of the Islamic Defenders Front’s (FPI) consultative council, has asked President Joko Widodo not to wish the country’s Christians a merry Christmas. Micbachul said the president would be deemed an apostate should he opt to do so.
“It is haram (forbidden for Muslims) to wish a merry Christmas, including for President Jokowi,” he told Tempo on Thursday, December 18, 2014.
Micbach claimed wishing a merry Christmas to Christians would make a Muslim an apostate for acknowledging the existence of another religion. He explained, according to the Great Dictionary of Indonesian Language (KBBI), Christmas is defined as the birth of Jesus Christ.
“So when there’s a Muslim who says a marry Christmas, it means he congratulates (Christians) on the birth of Jesus,” he said.
In that context, he went on, wishing a merry Christmas to Christians had a serious impact on the faith of Muslims. “Whereas it is stated clearly in Islam that God is lam yalid wa lam yulad. God was not born and does not give birth to,” he said.
The country’s largest Islamic organization, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), meanwhile, said in contrast that wishing Christians a merry Christmas was an act of tolerance and would not affect one’s principles and religious identities.
“This kind of mutual respect has nothing to do with faith acknowledgement,” said Slamet Effendy Yusuf, an NU chairman.