Jakarta – Din Syamsuddin, Head of Indonesian Council of Ulemas’ (MUI) Advisory Board, said that Muslims are allowed to wish their Christian fellows ‘Merry Christmas’ on Christmas Day, December 25, 2015. “They are free to do so, if they really need to,” Din said at MUI’s Headquarters on Wednesday, December 23, 2015.
According to Syamsuddin, wishing someone a ‘Merry Christmas’ is not against Islam – as long as the issue of faith is kept separate. “It is a form of expressing sympathy among human beings,” Din said, before adding that Indonesia espouses plurality, and peaceful coexistence is integral to Indonesia’s underlying social fabric.
That said, Syamsuddin said Muslims should not be partaking in any ceremonies that are of a religious nature. “Undoubtedly, there are strong religious undertones to Christmas celebrations,” Din said.
Syamsuddin also drew a line on the wearing of religious and/or Christmas-themed attributes by other religious groups, stating that such practice is not a form of tolerance. “I have to say I disagree on the matter,” Din said, before adding that businessmen should not force their employees to don Christmas-themed attributes when the holiday finally arrives.
“Businesses should exercise restraint, because this is a sensitive matter for a lot of people,” said Syamsuddin.