Indonesian clerics ban TV gossip shows

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Indonesia’s highest Islamic body has issued a fatwa banning Muslims from watching gossip shows or having sex-change operations, an official said Wednesday.

The increasingly assertive Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) said gossip shows about the intimate details of people’s private lives — a popular genre on Indonesian television — were immoral and threatened society.

“We’re not against all infotainment programmes… What’s haram (forbidden) is material that’s gossipy and exposes shameful details about people.

Profiting from infotainment shows is also forbidden under the edict, posing a theological conundrum for the media industry in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, AFP reports.

Another fatwa passed at an MUI meeting late Tuesday forbade receiving or conducting a sex-change operation unless there is a good medical reason.

The council is the top Islamic authority in Indonesia and while its edicts are usually ignored, they can be cited by religious hardliners to justify vigilante-style crackdowns on “un-Islamic” activities.

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This post was last updated: Nov. 21, 2013