Muslim body slates 'excessive' Christmas

Jakarta - Indonesia's top Islamic body said on Thursday that Christmas decorations in malls, amusement centres and public places were "excessive and provocative" in the Muslim-majority country.

Christmas ornamentation had been put up in an "excessive and provocative way", said Muhyidin Junaedi, one of the chairpersons of the Indonesia Ulema Council (MUI).

"It should be done in a proportional manner as Muslims are the majority here, otherwise it will hurt their feelings," he said.

He said that the MUI issued a recommendation urging mall and recreation centre managers to act proportionally in decorating their premises.

"We received complaints from a number of malls' employees who are forced to wear Santa Claus costumes which are against their faith. Such things should not have happened," he said.

"We need to restrain Muslims from joining the festivities," Junaedi added.

He said that the body had no plan to turn the recommendation, made on Tuesday, into an Islamic edict.

Nearly 90% of Indonesia's 234 million people are Muslim, most of whom practise a moderate version of the religion.

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