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04/01/2022 Philippines (International Christian Concern) – The top Muslim clerical body in Indonesia, the Indonesia Ulema Council (MUI), has urged Islamic groups not to target restaurants and street food stalls serving meals to non-Muslims in the daylight hours during Ramadan.   

The Islamic holy month begins next week on April 2 and ends with the Eid al-Fitr festival on May 2-3. Muslims in Indonesia fast from 4:30 am to 6:00 pm during Ramadan.   

On March 28, the MUI said that food outlets should not be forced to close to respect those who do not have to fast, including Christians.   

This statement followed an attempt by the council’s branch in West Java province’s Bekasi district to ban restaurants, cafes, and stalls from opening during Ramadan.   

Bonar Tigor Naipospos, deputy chairman of the Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace, voiced his appreciation for the MUI’s declaration.   

“It is a good move that will help to strengthen tolerance among different religions in Indonesia,” Naipospos told UCA News on March 29.  

He said that any attempt by hardliners to force food outlets to close must be swiftly dealt with.  

Father Antonius Suyadi, chairman of Jakarta Archdiocese’s Ecumenical and Inter-religious Affairs Commission, welcomed the statement.  

“It shows respect for other religions,” Father Suyadi said. “Catholics, likewise, should respect our Muslim brothers and sisters and give them mutual support during Ramadan.”  

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