August 9, 2010 - This congress was actually held in July 2010..
Yogyakarta. A smoking ban was the main issue when delegates started arriving for the 46th national congress of the country’s second-largest Muslim organization, Muhammadiyah. The facts that millions nationwide are addicted to smoking, including Muhammadiyah members, and that Indonesia has the world’s fifth-highest rate of cigarette consumption did not deter the committee from banning smoking at the congress.
Organizing committee chairman Zamroni told the Jakarta Globe that in line with the organization’s edict in March, the congress would be smoke-free. (Indonesia - second largest Muslim organization launched a fatwa(a ruling) against smoking..; Indonesia - Muhammadiyah-owned university students demonstrate against edict against smoking..).
“This is the first time that participants are not allowed to smoke during the event,” he said. “We are holding the caucus at the UMY [Muhammadiyah University Yogyakarta] building, which is totally smoke-free,” Zamroni said.
The committee said that about a million followers from across the archipelago were gathering for the meeting, which will continue until Thursday.
Zamroni said the idea of banning cigarettes during this year’s congress was one of the organization’s efforts to remind its followers of the serious consequences of smoking. A Muhammadiyah edict in March declared smoking a bad habit, comparing it to suicide, and outlawed it. “We hope that all participants will abide by the regulation,” Zamroni said.
The congress is also expected to urge the government to ratify the World Heath Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control immediately.
Yunahar Ilyas, chairman of the Muhammadiyah fatwa committee, told the Globe that the number of Muhammadiyah followers who smoked was negligible. “I am sure not many of us are smokers,” he said.
Widyastuti, one of the leaders of Aisyiyah, the women’s wing of Muhammadiyah, said she expected that participants would follow the call. “Although this is still a controversy, we hope that participants respect the edict,” she said. “We are trying to build a healthy congress environment.” Widyastuti said the board acknowledged smoking was actually an individual right, “but we want to remind them that the smoke is dangerous for passive smokers.” She said that the organizers would remind the congress of it periodically.
Academic and political observer Azyumardi Azra, of the Syarif Hidayatullah Islamic State University in Jakarta, said he doubted that everyone would respect the edict, especially since a religious fatwa was “not necessarily binding.” “It will not surprise me if not all members follow the edict,” the academic said. Azyumardi said that even Islam still viewed smoking as makruh (a disliked or offensive act), undesirable, and only recommended against it.
Sessions of a congress of Nahdlatul Ulama, the country’s largest Islamic organization, in Makassar in March were mostly conducted in a haze of cigarette smoke.
More on the congress itself :
A sea of Muhammadiyah flags, posters and billboards have turned Yogyakarta’s main streets green. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is scheduled to open the congress live on Saturday via teleconference from Medina, Saudi Arabia, where he is on a minor hajj pilgrimage. Congress deputy chairman Haryadi Suyuti said two satellites had been rented for the teleconference and 1.2 million watts of electricity made ready.
The opening ceremony will be held at the Mandala Krida Stadium, which can accommodate only 13,500 guests. Fifteen large screens have been set up at several strategic points of the city, including the city square, the Jogja Expo Center and UMY. After the opening, most of the congress proceedings will be held at UMY. The central board will report its progress and problems during the past five years in the first day of the congress.
Reference: Smoking Ban Kicks Off Muslim Congress, Anita Rachman, Jakarta Globe, 7/3/2010.
Indonesia some related news briefs:
Indonesia - agrees to ratify the WHO FCTC public health treaty..;
WTO - US rejected call by Indonesia to rule on dispute on ban of clove cigarettes in the US..;
Indonesia - on June 22nd will ask WTO to rule on US ban on clove cigarettes..;
Indonesia - PT Djarum Tobacco to sponsor badminton events..;
Indonesia - CNN Video on 2-year old nicotine addict..;
Indonesia - more on the 2-year old addicted to nicotine..;
Indonesia - paradise for smokers and paradise for tobacco companies..;
Indonesia - House Finance and Banking Commission opposes govt plan to lower cigarette production..;
Jakarta, Indonesia - more on the Kelly Clarkson tobacco sponsored concert April 29th..;
Jakarta, Indonesia - Singer Kelly Clarkson will she perfom concert sponsored by major tobacco company..;
Indonesia - launches formal dispute with WTO over U.S, ban on clove cigarettes..;
Indonesia - parents encourage 4-year old boy to continue smoking habit..;
Hemoglobin obtained from pigs may be used in cigarette filters..;
Indonesia - government may raise cigarette tax and cut cigarette output..;
Indonesia - Muhammadiyah-owned university students demonstrate against edict against smoking..;
Indonesia - kretek cigarette maker Gudang Garam's 2009 net profit jumps 84 percent..;
Indonesia - persons accused of eliminating clause designating tobacco as addictive..;
Indonesia - second largest Muslim organization launched a fatwa against smoking..;
Indonesia - RATIFICATION OF FCTC MAY RAISE INDONESIA'S BARGAINING POWER.. ;
Indonesia - 18 tons of illegal cigarettes destroyed..;
Indonesia - Government to limit cigarette production..;
Indonesia - BAT, Bentoel shareholders approve planned merger..;
Indonesia - another protest rejecting the new cigarette excise tax..;
Indonesia - workers from small cigarette producers protest excise tax increase..;
Indonesia - cigarette industry has pledged to stage a demonstration to protest a government plan to increase excise tax.;
Indonesia - the last paradise for a puff in Southeast Asia..;
Indonesia - trade minister officials want to meet with US counterparts to discuss ban on clove cigarettes..;
Indonesia - PT BAT Indonesia to merge with PT Bentoel International Investama Terbuka..;
Indonesia - missing tobacco regulation in approved Health Law..;
Indonesia - section on tobacco in health bill disappears..;
Indonesia - Constitutional Court by close vote rules that tobacco ads can continue..;
Indonesia - parent smoking can negatively affect the nutrition of children..;
Indonesia - new council member suspect in cigarette fraud case..;
Indonesia - an NGO commission assists cigarettes must be banned in films..
Indonesia - a paradise for tobacco companies..
Indonesia - after buying cigarettes very little left for food..;
Indonesia - will they ratify the first world public health treaty..;
Indonesia - last paradise to smoke in public places in Southeast Asia..;
Indonesia - Industry minister to close tobacco to new foreign investment..;
Indonesia Finance Ministry to cap tax deductions for tobacco companies..;
Indonesia - Smoking hits poor families the hardest, making the poor even poorer..;
Indonesia - Cigarette makers defy crisis, grows stronger..;
Indonesia - government may raise cigarette excise tax next year..;
WHO - Indonesia is crying out for your help..;
Indonesia - dispute with U.S. over banning the use of clove in cigarettes..;
Indonesia 'cash cow' for Philip Morris International..;
Tobacco industry has long targeted young people as "replacement smokers";
Indonesia - district court dismisses request to ratify FCTC..;
Asean Countries - Tobacco Industry Blocking Global Treaty On Tobacco..; Indonesia - farmers hold rally protest tobacco controls..;
Indonesia - tobacco farmers reject Islamic council's edict..;
Indonesia - Ulema Council - debate results is split on smoking..;
Indonesia - Withdraw Sponsorhip of Another Rock Concert..;
Indonesia to increase tax on tobacco products..;
Semarang, Indonesia - Cigarette Smoking Areas to be Prepared..;
Jakarta, Indonesia - Malls help enforce non-smoking ban..;
Indonesia - federal anti-smoking laws in one year - MAYBE..;
Indonesia - NGO's (non-government organizations) Demand the Government Ratify WHO's FCTC.;
Indonesia to raise cigarette tax by 6 to 7% in 2009..;
Surabaya, Indonesia - anti-smoking bylaw 10/2009 - FOR REAL??
Indonesians smoking more than ever before..;
Indonesia further rise in the excise tax would hurt the cigarette industry..;
Alicia Keys - Jakarta Concert (July 31st) tobacco companies forced to withdraw sponsorship.. and
Most Indonesians support moves to ban tobacco advertisements..