... Prayer Times


Serang Islamic bylaw and like-dislike tolerance

Foto: Ibu Saenih (53 tahun) pedagang makanan yang dirazia Satpol PP Pemkot Serang, Banten. (Foto: Sindonews)

KIBLAT.NET – In the beginning of holy Ramadhan month, Indonesia was shocked by the incident in Serang when a group of Satpol PP (Public Order Agency) confiscated some food from a stall seller. This incident has brought many pros and cons comments from Indonesian people and the media made it worst by blowing the news up as a hot topic.

Moreover, international media brought up this news as a serious problem of tolerance in Indonesia, the biggest Muslim country.

Rules in Serang Municipal
Serang municipal is the capital of Banten province with 95% moslem population. The people can not live apart from religious tradition have grown since long. Expressing religion understand strictly, the community always keep tolerance among religious people. In Serang municipal itself is hardly heard their religious conflicts.

In fact, according to The Banten chapter of the inter-religious harmony forum, Banten province has gotten the best at the national level in terms of interreligious harmony fostering and tolerance with unprecedented proven of friction and discord.

To respect the holy month of ramadhan, ulema and communities in Serang suggested authority to make a bylaw by prohibiting of food selling in the daytime and closing of nightclubs. Therefore in 2010, Serang Mayor ended up to launch the bylaw number 2/2010 on Prevention, Eradication and Mitigation of Social Ills accomodating religous and public figures’ willing.

Bylaw number 2/2010 is a form of local wisdom and legal product, in accordance with the spirit of regional autonomy. For six years, the bylaw having established by majority supporting without the interference of the society.

The regulation doesn’t interdict the sellers fully, they are only asked not sell meals during the daytime to respect Ramadhan. They’re allowed to start selling in the afternoon before iftar. Even the rules allow food stall sellers to open theirs at bus stations and hospitals.

How about the other countries? Once Ramadan begins, it’s illegal for adults in Qatar to consume food or drink beverages publicly during the fasting day. That also means no gum-chewing or cigarette smoking. In Article No.267, Qatar punishes up to 3 months in prison and/or up to 3000QR fine for any one drink, eat or smoke during the fasting hours of Ramadan.

In United Arab States, in accordance with the Federal Penal Code, housing meal and beverages in public during daytime of the ramadhan is forbidden by article 313. The article spulates the punishments in the form of either a monetary penalty –up to 2.000 dirhems ($ 555)- or even a term up to one month in the prison.

In Saeni’s case, Satpol PP let Saeni to get her confisated food, but she did’nt do it. Saeni admitted that she didn’t see the circular letter of banning on selling. She was deeply sorry and didn’t expect the impact of the news will be very large. Many parties were hurt, such as religious leaders and communities. “I am also not good. Feeling very guilty,” she said. Although getting donations, Saeni finally apologized to Muslims.

The Banning in Bali and Papua
Besides in Serang, Bali has local wisdom demanding the other’s respection. Nyepi is a Balinese “Day of Silence” that is commemorated every Isakawarsa (Saka New Year) according to the Balinese calendar. It is a Hindu celebration as a day of silence, fasting and meditation for the Balinese.

Although Nyepi is primarily a Hindu holiday, non-Hindu residents and tourists are not exempt from the restrictions. Although they are free to do as they wish inside their hotels, no one is allowed onto the beaches or streets, and the only airport in Bali remains closed for the entire day.

When Nyepi coincided with the eclipse prayer in March ago, The secretary of the Bali chapter of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), Abdul Kadir Makaramah, said the council had called on Muslims to conduct eclipse prayers either in their respective houses or in nearby mosques without the use of loudspeakers.

“It’s based on our agreement with all interfaith forums that we respect the Balinese Hindus observing Nyepi,” Abdul said.

No cars or motorcycles were seen on the streets. Muslims went to the mosque on foot, while pecalang (traditional guards) patrolled the streets, securing their respective areas. [See: Nyepi observed tolerance, The Jakarta Post Online]

In Papua, Jayapura Mayor also issued a ban on selling on Sunday to respect the church service. The policy was put a circular together and has been socialized to all businessman in the Jayapura municipal.

The legal base of this policy, in addition to manage the cleanliness, is bring to reality of the Jayapura municipal’s slogan: The faithful city. Jayapura’s Government viewed that slogan must become a reality in Jayapura municipal whose majority of the people is christian. The regulation was also as a realization of the Papua Special Autonomy status.

Meanwhile, in Dogiyai Regency, Papua, this policy also is applied by authority. Satpol PP Dogiyai will arrest the sellers if they compel in selling on Sunday at 6.00 AM until 14.00 PM.

Although it has similarity with Serang bylaw, regulations in Bali and Papua certainly did’nt become concern of many people as Serang’s case. In fact, there are few rules that has limited the muslim activity. However, Muslims keep tolerance and respecting the rule as the MUI Bali’s attitude.

Constitutional Rights
We may disagree regarding Satpol PP’s act cleaning up the sellers in Serang. Repressive action of them definetly can’t be justified. Satpol PP must run in a groove with simpatic manners. Yet must be underlined that provocation to annul bylaw inexcusable action too.

Indonesian society has constitutional rights to manage living in accordance the 1945 constitution by base belief in one God principle on.

In article 29 of the 1945 constitution state that: (1) The state is based on the belief in the One and Only God. (2) The state guarantees each and every citizen the freedom of religion and of worship in accordance with his religion and belief.

Indeed, enforcement of bylaw No. 2/2010 has still weakness, but it does not mean we have to revoke it. If anything goes wrong we could evaluate to the person, not to destroy the bylaw, because the case is going viral since the Satpol PP’s manner when they acted the curb.

We worry about Serang’s incident shows our injustice face, when other religious groups practice their faith, we ask the others to respect, but when Islamic groups do that, we dislike. Do we interpret the tolerance meaning due to like or dislike?


*Muhammad Pizaro, is a social observer. He graduated from State Islamic University of Jakarta

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