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Indonesian Muslims protest Christmas in the wake of warning against sharing Christmas wishes

By AP | Published Sat, December 21st 2013 at 00:00, Updated December 21st 2013 at 10:05 GMT +3
A Muslim man shout slogans during a protest against Christmas and New Year celebrations in Banda Aceh, Aceh province, Indonesia, Friday, Dec. 20, 2013. [PHOTO: AP]

BANDA ACEH, INDONESIA: A group of Muslims on Friday protested against Christmas and New Year celebrations in Indonesia's conservative Aceh province.

About 70 protesters took part in the protest at the governor's office and at a hotel in the provincial capital, Banda Aceh.

The protest came days after an influential Islamic clerics' organization, the Ulema Consultative Assembly, issued an edict prohibiting Muslims in the city from offering Christmas wishes or celebrating on New Year's Eve.

The protesters called on authorities to ban the celebrations, claiming they are prohibited by Islam.

The edict, known as a fatwa, and the protesters did not oppose celebrations by non-Muslims in the city, which has four Christian churches, three Buddhist temples and a Hindu temple.

Aceh, at the northern tip of Sumatra, is the only province in predominantly Muslim Indonesia that is allowed to implement a version of Islamic Shariah law.