how MUI opened the gate of parochialism

Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) issued 11 fatwa (religious edicts) in Indonesia in the Jakarta Post yesterday. Among the controversial ones are those fatwa treating pluralism, secularism and liberalism as "unIslamic" and haram and according thus should be banned. The council also now disallows interfaith prayers, interfaith marriages, interfaith inheritance. Welcome to the 21st parochialism!

The paper wrote: "After Indonesia's success in hosting an interfaith dialog involving 39 Asian and European countries in Bali last week, the nation would do well to address a no less pressing issue at home: promoting an intra-faith dialog, more specifically among different Muslim groups. The predominantly conservative Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) is about to close the door on any further dialog in the search for truth if it goes ahead with issuing a fatwa (edict) that would effectively ban liberal interpretations of Islam."

Islamic scholar Azyumardi Azra was not alone in saying that this MUI's move would be counterproductive. The people at large can and will abandon them. This really is a major setback in progressive Islamic development in the country.