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ICC Note:

Indonesia has seen a rising Islamic radicalism across the country in the past 10 years. Recently, five local radical groups raided three shopping centers in Central Java and warned that Muslims should not celebrate or promote anything related to Christmas.

12/17/2014 Indonesia (AsiaNews) – Dozens of Islamic extremists in the Sukaharjo District have attacked three shopping centers in Solo, better known as Surakarta in Central Java, because they were selling and promoting items, clothing and events related to Christmas. The group has told the owners and managers of commercial activities, not to “force” Muslim employees to wear or use clothing or other items related to the Christian festivity in this high-season shopping period. After the province of Aceh, the only one in which Sharia law is implemented, a radical vision of faith is on the increase in other parts of Indonesia as well, as is the intention to introduce legislation or regulations relating to customs derived from Islamic law.

There are five local hard-line groups behind the raids which took place on the evening of 15 December against the Solo shops that exhibited items relating to Christmas. They are Surakarta’s Sharia Council (DSKS), The Islamic Warrior Group of Surakarta (LUIS),  Al Ishlah Brigade, the Jemaah Anshorut Tauhid and the Jemaah Ansarus Sharia. The Solo Paragon Lifestlye Mall, the Solo Grand Mall and the Luwes Shop in Kartasura were the targets of the “attention” of the promoters of the Islamic morals.

After bursting into the shops, they imposed a ban on the retailers prohibiting them to wear or display any Christmas item, even if for mere commercial reasons.

In recent years it has become common practice in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, to put up Christmas and New Year symbols, also amongst the shopkeepers. The group’s spokesman, Endro Sudarsono, said that the three retail business groups have pledged to revue and evaluate their sales policy.

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