Posted by: becketfund | January 28, 2009

Indonesia: Voting Fatwa Issued

JAKARTA – House of Representatives Speaker Agung Laksono has said that the Indonesian Council of Ulema, or MUI, went too far when it banned Muslims from abstaining from voting on January 27, JakartaGlobeNational reported on January 28. “To vote or not to vote is purely a political matter, and not in the religious domain,” Laksono said. “It can’t be forced and shouldn’t be linked to religion.” About 700 Muslim leaders gathered in Padang Panjang, West Sumatra Province, from January 23-26 to discuss a number of contentious issues, ultimately issuing rulings on smoking, voting, yoga and abortion. Umar Shihab, the chairman of the MUI, said on January 26 that “As long as there is a candidate that is Muslim, honest, intelligent and ready to fight for the Indonesian people, it is ‘haram’ for Muslims to abstain from voting.” Shihab continued, “[But] it is forbidden for Muslims to vote for a non-Muslim.”

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