Islamic Council continues on a roll with silly edicts

This way – no, that way – no, this way – no, that way

Indonesia’s highest Islamic authority has followed up a series of contentious edicts with a new one barring Muslims from watching television gossip shows or having sex-change operations.

The authority, the Indonesian Ulema Council, said gossip shows about the intimate details of people’s private lives — a popular genre on Indonesian television — were immoral and threatened society. Gossip shows are allowed only if they “uphold the law, warn the public and help people,” the council said.

While the council’s edicts are usually ignored, they can be cited by religious hard-liners to justify vigilante-style crackdowns on “un-Islamic” activities. It has recently issued a steady stream of edicts including bans on interfaith marriages, smoking and yoga.

They recently had to correct a truly embarrassing edict on praying in the appropriate direction – when they learned they had Muslims praying in the direction of Kenya, not Mecca.

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