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Indonesia: Christian party criticises Muslim edict

ICC Note:

A Top Islamic body in Indonesia has issued a fatwa stating that only a Muslim can become president of the country. Christian political leaders have criticized the religious edict as against the constitution.

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1/27/09 Indonesia (AKI) A Christian political leader has criticised a religious edict or fatwa issued by Indonesia’s top Islamic body stating that only a Muslim could become president of the country. Sonny Wuisan, leader of the Christian Democratic Party (PKD) told Adnkronos International (AKI) that the edict from the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) was unconstitutional and should be withdrawn.

“This fatwa is against the constitution and the MUI should limit itself to discussing religion,” Sonny Wuisan, secretary of the PKD told AKI.

The Indonesian Ulema Council issued several fatwas or edicts including a ban on practising yoga, smoking and voting abstention during its conference in the West Sumatran town of Padangpanjang at the weekend.

The council said that Muslims should vote at forthcoming presidential elections in July if the candidates have certain characteristics such as “being Muslim”.

On the other hand some 700 clerics from the council agreed on Sunday that Muslims were forbidden to abstain from voting in elections if “qualified” candidates existed

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