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Indonesian cleric calls for boycott over Dutch anti-Islam film

Indonesian cleric calls for boycott over Dutch anti-Islam film

Indonesia's top Muslim organization called Wednesday for a boycott of Dutch products to protest a film by a Dutch lawmaker that links Islam to violence.
Earlier, several protesters broke into the grounds of a Dutch consulate building in the west of the country and ripped down the flag during a demonstration against the film. Police made several arrests, an embassy spokeswoman said.
The Indonesian Cleric's Council said the boycott call was not in the form of a fatwa, or formal ruling, but rather an informal appeal not to buy Dutch goods.
Indonesia is a former Dutch colony and maintains close business ties with the country.
"We are urging people to boycott Dutch products because of the film," the body's chairman, Ma'ruf Amien, told The Associated Press.
It is unclear to what extent the call will be heeded, if at all. Even the council's fatwas, which themselves have no legal weight, attract little attention and are ignored by most Indonesians.
The film by anti-immigration politician Geert Wilders intersperses scenes of recent terror attacks by Muslim extremists with versus from the Quran, Islam's holy book. It ends with an appeal for Muslims to rip out sections of the book it claims encourage violence.
Before the film's release, the Dutch government warned it could spark protests and product boycotts in Muslim nations like those that occurred following the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad two years ago.
Meanwhile, around 50 people took part in a demonstration at the Dutch consulate in the city of Medan, said Dutch Embassy spokeswoman Gonneke De Ridder. Some of the demonstrators broke into the grounds of the building, she said.
She said two people were inside at the time, but could not confirm a report on el-Shinta radio that protesters also threw stones at the building and set the flag alight.
Police, who were not informed in advance of the protest, arrived after several minutes to disperse the demonstrators, arresting a "few of them," De Ridder added.
Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim nation, but its government is secular and hard-line interpretations of the faith generally do not attract much support.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who relies on the support of several Islamic parties in parliament, has condemned the film and urged protesters to stay calm.
On Tuesday, the government threatened to block access to the video-sharing Web site YouTube unless it removed the video from its site.


Updated : 2021-10-28 00:24 GMT+08:00