Following a threat by Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) to raid companies forcing Muslims to wear Christmas attire, the police have appealed for tolerance and respect for other people’s religious celebrations.
“There can be no sweeping operations… members of the public should respect other religions that are carrying out celebrations,” national police chief Tito Karnavian told police during a security exercise in Jakarta, as quoted by The Independent.
The general’s comment was made in response to the threat by FPI who warned that it would conduct “sweeping operations” on businesses who force their Muslim employees to wear Christmas outfit. Such a policy, the group argued, is a violation of human rights and also a breach of the fatwa, or decree, issued by Indonesia’s Islamic Clerical Council in 2016 prohibiting business owners from forcing employees to wear Christmas clothing.
“We will raid businesses in anticipation of them being stubborn about this and we will be accompanied by police,” said Novel Bakmukmin, head of the FPI’s Jakarta chapter.
The police have said they will deploy around 90,000 personnel to ensure security during the end-of-year holidays. They have also arrested 1 8 people with suspected links to militant groups ahead of Christmas and New Year as part of an annual attempt to reduce risk of attacks during year-end festivities.
The stepping up of security ahead of Christmas and New Year is a measure that has been carried out annually by the police since the year 2000 when multiple attacks on churches in Jakarta and elsewhere on Christmas Eve in 2000, killed nearly 20 people.