Bar offering Free Drinks for People Named Muhammad is Protested


    In a now deleted posting on social media, Holywings offered “a bottle of Gordon's dry Gin for males with the name Muhammad and Gordon's Pink Gin for women named Maria on Thursdays. To receive the freebies, those who qualify could only bring their IDs to the location,” the news website Coconuts Jakarta reported on June 24.

    “Though Maria is an important figure in both the Bible and the Quran [Islamic holy book], the outrage mostly centered on the use of the name Muhammad, the last of the prophets in Islam,” the news site noted.

    “We have taken action against the promotions team, who made the promo without the management's prior knowledge, with heavy sanctions,” Holywings published a statement on its social media channels on June 23.

    “It is not in our heart's intent to associate elements of religion with our promo, so we express our deepest apology to all the people of Indonesia,” the statement read.

    “This marketing brand is an insult to the Islamic faith,” an online social media user who goes by the username “suandharu” wrote beneath Holywings' “Muhammad” promotion before the brand's removal, as per The Malay Mail.

    G.P. Ansor, which is the youth division of Indonesia's largest Islamic organization (Nahdlatul Ulama) announced on June 24 plans to organize demonstrations in front of the various Holywings places located in Jakarta to protest the ad campaign.

    “The group is also planning to submit a formal complaint of blasphemy against Holywings with the Jakarta Metro Police. In accordance with Indonesian law, blasphemy of religion is punishable with the maximum of five years jail,” Coconuts Jakarta reported on Friday.

    Indonesia, situated within Southeast Asia, boasts the largest Islamic population of any country in the world. A 2010 Pew Research Center study found that the 205 million Indonesian Muslims represented an 88 percent share of the total population, and 13 percent of the worldwide Muslim population.

    The constitution of Indonesia guarantees freedom of religion “but states citizens must accept restrictions established by law to protect the rights of others and […] to satisfy ‘just demands based upon considerations of morality, religious values, security, and public order in a democratic society,'” according to the U.S. State Department's report on the Religious Freedom of Indonesia.

    “Some local governments imposed local laws and regulations restricting religious observance, such as regulations banning Shia or Ahmadi Islamic practice,” the report said.

    “In Aceh Province, authorities continued to issue public canings to punish sharia [Islamic law] infractions like the sale of alcohol or gambling and extramarital relationships. The detention of individuals continued and were sentenced to prison for violations of the blasphemy law,” the U.S. State Department stated.


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