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Aceh advises Muslims not to celebrate New Year

Jakarta Post - December 31, 2018

Jakarta Officials and religious leaders in Aceh have called on Muslims in the province not to celebrate the New Year for religious reasons.

Aceh acting governor Nova Iriansyah explained in a circular that, "When marking the New Year, [it is recommended] that people not hold any festivities such as fireworks, trumpet-blowing, vehicle racing or any other celebration not in accordance with sharia, our customs and culture," Nova said as quoted by Antara on Sunday.

Cleric Mursalin Basyah echoed the message in a sermon on Sunday before thousands of Muslims at Al Faizin Mosque in Lampeuneurut, Aceh Besar, Aceh,

"Islam firmly prohibits people from individually or in a group celebrating the New Year [in the Gregorian calendar]. We have to inform all generations of Muslims of this," said Mursalin as quoted by Antara.

Other regions, meanwhile, have recommended that people not celebrate the New Year on the streets, to avoid accidents, traffic jams and to respect those in mourning due to disasters. They issued a circular advising people to ring in the New Year with religious activities with family.

North Maluku Governor Abdul Gani Kasuba asked residents to pass the last day of 2018 with religious activities. Abdul said the residents should not light fireworks but instead pray for other regions hit by disasters.

Ternate municipality administration in North Maluku, meanwhile, held an all-night praying event on Sunday to pray for the New Year. Sambas regency administration in West Kalimantan and Makassar municipality in South Sulawesi have also made a similar call.

The head of the Indonesian National Youth Committee (KNPI) in Sambas, Nugra Iranta Denashurya, said he supported the circular, especially because Indonesia was in mourning after earthquakes and a tsunami.

Kubu Raya regency in the same province issued a similar circular on Dec. 27. Kubu Raya administration spokesperson Elfiana Wardani urged residents not to light fireworks.

"We urge residents not to conduct street convoys or parades to avoid traffic jams, reduce traffic accidents and juvenile delinquency," she said as quoted by tribunnews.com.

She said the administration had ordered all local leaders, public figures and religious leaders to remind the public not to engage in "unproductive" activities. The regent suggested that Muslims pray in mosques, she said.

South Lampung regency, which was hit by the Dec. 22 tsunami, made the same call to residents, saying they should ring in the New Year with religious activities instead of partying.

The acting regent, Nanang Ermanto, issued a circular stating that there should be no street convoys, Antara reported.

Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo said residents could celebrate the New Year, but he asked them to do it modestly on account of recent natural disasters. "Those who want to celebrate, please do so modestly, don't party too much because our brothers and sisters are in a hardship. Let's empathize with them," said Ganjar as quoted by Antara (mai/evi)

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/12/31/aceh-advises-muslims-not-to-celebrate-new-year.html.

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