FPI Promise Reprimands for Food Vendors Operating During Fasting Hours

JUNE 17, 2015

Jakarta. Indonesia's most notorious hard-line Islamic group says its members will give a strong reprimand to streetside food vendors who remain open for business during daylight hours of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

Muchsin Alatas, the chairman of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), said the organization had instructed members to confront any food stalls, locally known as warung, if they don't close down their business as Muslims are fasting.

Muchsin added that the group would report food sellers to the authorities for the violation.

"If anyone from our group sees an open warung, report them or directly scold them. This is to remind them about moral violation, [but] not law abuse," Muchsin told CNN Indonesia on Wednesday.

Muchsin said all warung must at least cover their facade so as not to tempt those who were fasting, if they wished to remain open during Ramadan.

Meanwhile, Religious Affair Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin and Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama have called on Muslims to not force food vendors to close during Ramadan, which starts on Thursday.

"If there are those who close their warung voluntarily, we of course respect that. But good Muslims don't force others to give up their source of livelihood," the minister wrote on his official Twitter account.

The Jakarta Police have also urged all community organizations not to conduct raids for any reason, adding that only authorized officials, such as the police, are allowed to do so.

During the 30-day holy month of Ramadan, Muslims must refrain from consuming food, drinking liquids, smoking and also engaging in sexual activities from dawn until sunset.