Written by: Stefan J. Bos
Article source: www.worthynews.com
Indonesia’s top Islamic scholars’ body has issued a fatwa, an Islamic decree, banning the purchase or use of products from companies linked to Israel or seen as supporting the Jewish nation.
The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), which advises the government of Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority country, said its fatwa was in response to “Israeli aggression.”
In remarks obtained by Worthy News on Sunday, the MUI explained that the decree “known as Fatwa Number 83 of 2023 on the Law of Support for the Palestinian Struggle is a commitment to the independence of Palestine.”
The MUI added that this was “particularly in the face of the ongoing struggle in Gaza,” where Israel’s army battles against Hamas after it attacked Israel on October 7 killing 1,200 people.
The group warned Muslims that any support for Israel or its backers is “haram” (forbidden) under Islamic law.
Asrorun Niam Sholeh, the MUI’s executive, added that “every Muslim should avoid transactions or use products from Israel, its affiliates, and those who support colonialism and Zionism,” including Western brands.
Home Groups Concerned
Minority Christians, who didn’t want to be identified publicly, condemned the fatwa for this country of some 280 million people. “We support Israel and pray for the Jewish nation in house meetings,” a devoted church worker and entrepreneur told Worthy News.
The Christian, who organizes home churches, noted an angry social media reaction among critics of the fatwa. “They said that those supporting the anti-Israel decree should throw away their smartphones and stop using [social media services] WhatsApp, Instagram or Facebook,” she said.
“They must also stay away from McDonald’s or Starbucks fast food and coffee chains. Because many Jewish people or others with links to Israel were involved in creating these tech giants and products,” the Christian added.
The woman, named only as Victoria by Worthy News for security reasons, stressed Muslims should understand that without Israel, Indonesia’s economy “will perhaps shrink by half.” She said that millions would become unemployed.
MUI’s latest fatwa comes with a campaign spreading in the Middle East calling for boycotts of Western brands that showed support for Israel’s war with Hamas, viewed as a Palestinian terrorist group by most Western countries.
The fatwa also mirrors Indonesia’s position as a staunch advocate of Palestinian independence and United Nations-backed peace initiatives, including a two-state solution, Muslim commentators said.
There was pressure on Indonesia’s outgoing President Joko Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, to support the fatwa.
While he did not immediately comment on Sunday, the Indonesian government announced Palestinian scholarships.
Ahead of the anti-Israel fatwa, Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto welcomed 22 Palestinians who “received full scholarships” from Indonesia to continue “undergraduate studies at the Defense University.”
Indonesia also hosted free pilot training for Palestinians, including those from Gaza and the West Bank territories, Worthy News learned.
Israel and Indonesia have no formal diplomatic ties, but they maintain quiet trade, tourism, and security contacts.
“It is only possible to travel for Indonesian Christians like me in groups to Israel,” Victoria told Worthy News. “I hope to visit that country again. Meanwhile, we pray for Israel.”
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Date published: 19/11/2023
Feature image: Image for illustrative purposes only. Artwork adapted from unsplash.com
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