Jakarta – Sabang City on Weh Island in Aceh – the only region in Muslim-majority Indonesia that has implemented Sharia law – has banned its local residents from celebrating the new year in a circulating letter issued by the city administration.
The ban was signed by local leaders at the Regional Leadership Communication Forum (Forkopimda), Sabang Mayor Nazaruddin said.
Nazaruddin said the letter, which contained five points detailing the ban, was issued so that residents of the city would not violate Sharia principles.
"This is part of the Sabang city administration's commitment to uphold Sharia. We call on residents not to celebrate the new year, because it is not in line with our customs and traditions," Nazaruddin said on Sunday as quoted by Antara.
During New Year's Eve, which falls on Tuesday, the city administration will ban residents from engaging in "irresponsible" activities such as blowing airhorns or firing fireworks.
The city is even banning Islamic activities such as zikir (chants praising God), yasinan (Quran recitals), tausiyah (sermons) and similar activities on New Year's Eve as it would make it seem as if the Gregorian New Year celebration was allowed in Islam, they claimed.
Nazaruddin said that the ban would also be imposed on tourists to Sabang. He expected tourists to obey the administration's regulations and not violate Sabang's values.
"We are not banning local or international tourists coming to Sabang. We would be happy if Sabang was crowded with tourists. But we expect incoming tourists to adapt to the customs and cultures of Sabang City, which upholds Sharia," he said.
He said that the ban would be imposed on cafes, restaurants and hotels and asked those institutions not to hold New Year celebrations as they would be at odds with Islamic values. (ami)