The Indonesian Broadcasting Commission criticized a major television station Friday for giving into Islamists’ demands that a film on religious tolerance be pulled.
The Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) had threatened to storm SCTV headquarters if it broadcast a movie titled “?”, scheduled for the last night of the Ramadan holy fasting month this week.
“We regret SCTV’s decision to not air the movie. The movie has passed the censorship requirements and it doesn’t violate any regulations,” broadcasting commission official Ezki Suyanto told AFP.
“It seems the station is just afraid of the FPI. SCTV should not have given in to them. This is a bad precedent for other groups to do the same to TV stations.”
The movie was directed by Muslim filmmaker Hanung Bramantyo, who has made several feature films on Islam, such as the box-office hit “Ayat-Ayat Cinta” (Verses of Love).
FPI secretary-general Sobri Lubis said the movie tried to incite hatred toward Islam and disgraced the religion by suggesting Muslims could live together harmoniously with people of other faiths in one country.
“The movie supports the idea of pluralism and that the unification of many religions is acceptable. We rejected this dirty and damaging movie from the start,” he said.
Lubis said the film unfairly depicted the stabbing of a priest and burning of a church, suggesting Indonesia’s Muslim majority was suppressing minorities.
Last year, the FPI threatened cinemas with violence if they did not withdraw a horror-comedy, “Hantu Puncak Datang Bulan” (The Menstruating Ghost of Puncak), after watching uncensored clips of the movie on YouTube.
Civil society and human rights groups say intolerance is on the rise in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, under the leadership of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.