Indonesia syariah stronghold bans New Year's festivities for the first time
BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (AFP) - Islamic police in Indonesia's syariah stronghold seized thousands of firecrackers and cardboard trumpets after the city administration banned New Year's Eve celebrations for the first time, an official said on Tuesday.
The Monday night raid on street stalls and shops selling the items followed a fatwa, or decree, by the clerical Ulema Consultative Assembly that said New Year's celebrations or wishing someone "Merry Christmas" was "haram" (forbidden) in the city of Banda Aceh.
The Banda Aceh government backed the fatwa by banning New Year's Eve celebrations in the city.
"This public-order operation ahead of New Year's Eve is to ensure residents are compliant with calls from the government and ulema," a senior Banda Aceh syariah police official Reza Kamilin told AFP.