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Bar workers accused of blasphemous drink promotion in Indonesia

UCA News - June 28, 2022

Katharina Reny Lestari – Indonesian police have arrested six workers at a popular nightlife chain for allegedly committing blasphemy in an online drink promotion.

Holywings, which runs beer houses, lounges and nightclubs, posted an offer on its Instagram account last week offering a free bottle of gin for men named Mohammad and women named Maria every Thursday,

The promotional post sparked outrage in the predominantly Muslim country and the post was deleted. Holywings even offered a written apology.

Hotman Paris, one of the chain's shareholders, visited the house of the Indonesian Ulema Council chairman Muhammad Cholil Nafis to deliver an apology.

"I, personally and on behalf of Holywings, would like to deliver an apology to Kyai Cholil Nafis and all Muslims [in Indonesia]. I hope you accept my apology. And I let police deal with this case through a legal process based on the existing regulation," he said in a two-minute video posted on his Instagram account.

Meanwhile, Nafis said in a video that he personally accepted the apology.

"Regarding the legal process, I agree that it must go on ... Your workers are too creative until they lose their sensitivity. [They] fail to see that this is about a religion even though their intention may be good. I hope the legal process will go smoothly and there will be justice," he said.

South Jakarta police chief Budhi Herdi Susianto said on June 24 that the content of the offer was created by two men and four women aged 22-36 to boost sales.

Police raided Holywings' head office to ascertain the role and identities of the suspects before they were arrested, he said, while adding that if found guilty they could face up to 10 years in prison.

Speaking to UCA News, Yulius Setiarto, secretary of the Jakarta-based Indonesian Catholic Society Forum, said people in the country were sensitive about religious issues.

"Maria is quite a popular name here. The same thing goes for Bambang, Agus and so on. But we are not talking about St. Mary whom Catholics adore so much," he said.

He suggested that the bar's management should be more careful during promotional campaigns.

Source: https://www.ucanews.com/news/bar-workers-accused-of-blasphemous-drink-promotion-in-indonesia/9781