Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Idul Fitri and Christmas have similar substances

Al Makin , Heidelberg, Montreal | Tue, 09/30/2008 10:19 AM | Opinion and editorial The Jakarta Post

Idul Fitri and Christmas bear a substantial similarity to each other: their human side. It is true -- from a theological perspective -- that both celebrations have to do with a man's business with his God. Yet, in real life, the two involve more a man's business with other men than man's business with his God.

During the days prior to Idul Fitri, Indonesian Muslims are always eager to go back to their home towns (mudik) to spend their holidays with their relatives and close friends. Unfortunately, competition is stiff for the already incredibly steeply priced bus, train, airplane, and boat tickets.

Many, alternatively, decide to mudik with their motorcycles, riding from one end of the long island of Java to the other, or points in between. The same pattern occurs during the Christmas holidays in both Germany and Canada, as reflected in the soaring price of airplane tickets. Christmas is a human holiday. So is Idul Fitri.

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The writer is a lecturer at the State Islamic University Sunan Kalijaga Yogyakarta. He can be reached at

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Welcoming Ramadan: The audacity of sanity

Opinion and Editorial The Jakarta Post

Al Makin , Heidelberg , Germany | Thu, 09/04/2008 10:16 AM | Opinion

During the weeks before Ramadan, the Islamic fasting month, we received good news and bad news. That Mahfud MD, the new head of the Constitutional Court, slammed sharia bylaws in less than 24 hours after being sworn in is good news. That a Muslim mob has driven Christians to leave their campus is bad news.

Many members of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) went to the streets again to demand both their leader's release from police custody and the banning of Ahmadiyah, horrifying news. Minister of Religious Affairs Maftuh Basyuni guaranteed the government will not issue any Presidential regulation to outlaw Ahmadiyah, which is a relief.

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