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ICC Note: A pastry shop in Makassar, Indonesia refused to write “Merry Christmas” for its customer since it goes against their “religious principles.” Though the owner later apologized on social media for the incident, it sparked the debate again in the country on whether or not Muslims in Indonesia are allowed to say “Merry Christmas” to people of other faiths. 

12/26/2017 Indonesia (Reuters) – A pastry shop in Indonesia has refused to write a Christmas greeting on a cake as it goes against their “religious principles.” The owners later apologized for the incident, allowing customers to make their own inscriptions.

Chocolicous Indonesia, from the city of Makassar, declined the request of a customer who wanted to wish his family a merry Christmas with a message atop the cake he ordered, local media reported. However, the customer, a Hungarian national named Arnold Serestyen, had to cancel his order when the shop said it didn’t provide Christmas greetings.

The customer’s wife, Lanny, shared a screenshot that appeared to show her husband’s conversation with Chocolicious, prompting the pastry shop to issue an apology on its social media accounts.

“We from Chocolicious Indonesia are not yet able to write ‘Merry Christmas’ or other similar expressions,” the shop said, offering its “deepest regrets.”

“This does not mean we do not respect your religion. But with all due respect this is what we have to practice based on our religious principles,” it went on, saying the customers are “welcome to add [their] own writing.”

The statement garnered thousands of comments both on the shop’s Facebook page and Instagram, with opinions sharply differing. Some commentators called the bakery “racist,” “fanatics” and “unfit to live in Indonesia,” according to the Jakarta Post.

Serestyen said he had “no problem” with the bakery’s refusal, since it had never been “insulting or racist” to him. “Their cakes are wonderful,” he added.

However, the country’s Consumers Foundation (YLKI) said the bakery had violated consumer rights, such as “the right to be treated and served properly, honestly and non-discriminatively,” according to the YLKI’s head, Sudaryatmo (who goes by one name, as is often the case locally).

 

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