Archive for Religion

Muslim clerics want rules to be made for Facebook

While I am sure some Muslim clerics in Indonesia would like to see a total ban of the social networking site Facebook, at recent meeting of clerics or imams, they are proposing a set of guidelines and rules for muslims using the site.

Facebook has seen a surge of users in Indonesia using the website since 2008, with around 831,000 users.

From the Jakarta Post:

The clerics think it is necessary to set an edict on virtual networking, because this online relationship could lead to lust, which is forbidden in Islam,” said Nabil Haroen, a spokesman for the Lirboyo Islamic boarding school, which is hosting the event.

Can’t any relationship online or offline lead to lust? I agree that people should act responsibly on the internet just as they would in real life. I wonder if you really need a different or separate set of rules.

“People using Facebook can be driven to engage in distasteful, pornographic chatting,” said Amidan, who was monitoring the two-day conference in the town of Kediri, in eastern Java.

I think because Facebook requires you to register using your real name, I think Facebook is less likely to be used in a “distasteful” way than other sites which allow you to register anonymously.

Organized religions can only benefit from using social networks for attracting young people. They can also be good for organizing events and online discussions.

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Islamic books sell like hot cakes: Jakarta Post

The Jakarta Post reports that Islam books were the “surprise” best sellers for many bookstores at the 8th Islamic Book Fair.

Somehow that doesn’t seem to much of a surprise to me. I like one of the comments on the article: “Hmmmmm…. Islam books were the hot sellers at an Islamic Book Fair…..Imagine that…. I’d imagine that at a cake sale, cakes would be a hot seller as well.”

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Buddha bar forced to close in Jakarta

buddha-bar-restaurantBuddhist college students have forced the newly established “Buddha Bar” to close, demanding the bar change its name. The Jakarta Post reports:

“We’ve sealed the Buddha-Bar and it will remain closed until the matter is resolved. The management team has also agreed not to open the bar,” Indonesian Buddhist Students Association (AMB) representative Widodo said, as quoted by

“The bar itself is also filled with Buddhist symbols and artifacts. Its presence is offensive to the Buddhist community in Indonesia.”

The bar is part of a chain of restaurants with businesses in “London, New York, Dubai, Sao Paulo, Kiev, Cairo and Beirut.”

I can understand the problem the students might have with the bar, but the question is, why is it only in Indonesia that the bar has caused controversy.

“Buddha Bar” is also the name of a music CD compilation and there is a Buddha bar also in Australia that is not part of the aforementioned chain.

I really wonder if it would raise an eyebrow if they opened a branch in Thailand which is 94.7 per cent Buddhist.

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Yoga festival goes ahead despite Muslim ban

bali-yogaA yoga festival being held in Bali is going ahead despite a fatwa being issued by the country’s top Muslim body against the practice.

“The festival has a universal value. It doesn’t belong to any religious teachings,” International Bali-India Yoga Festival spokeswoman Susi Andrini told AFP.

A fatwa was issued in January this year banning Indonesian Muslims from all forms of yoga that involve Hindu religious rituals such as chanting mantras, but performing yoga purely for the physical benefits was however acceptable.

From wiki: a fatwa in the Islamic faith is a religious opinion on Islamic law issued by an Islamic scholar. In Sunni Islam any fatwa is non-binding, whereas in Shia Islam it could be, depending on the status of the scholar.

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