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Indonesian Muslims divided on Idul Fitri

Some Indonesian Muslims started the Idul Fitri festivities on Monday but others will have to wait another day for the celebration.

The followers of Muhammadiyah, the second largest Muslim organization in Indonesia, have set Monday as their Idul Fitri day, while the Nahdlatul Ulama, the largest Muslim organization, together with the government have decided that the holiday falls on Tuesday.

Indonesian Religious Affairs Minister Maftuh Basyuni said Sunday night that religious and government officials decided the date after there were no sightings of the new moon from monitoring stations throughout the country Sunday.

But Muhammadiyah making public its Idul Fitri date earlier last week is based on astronomical calculations on the changing of the moon, resulting in only 29 days of fasting.

"We respect the conclusion of the Religious Affairs Ministry. However, we are sticking to our calculation that Idul Fitri will fall Monday," the Jakarta Post daily on Monday quoted Muhammadiyah Chairman Din Syamsuddin as saying in a Sunday meeting.

Islamic and the government leaders have called for Muslims not to make an issue out of the time difference, which has occurred sporadically for many years, so as not to provoke unnecessary conflict.

Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world with nearly 90 percent of its 230 million population are Muslims.

Idul Fitri is a great occasion for people to reassert the importance of family and brotherhood. During the four-day to one- week long holidays, nostalgic memories of the past will be retrieved; family members will cheer each other, tell stories, express thanks, ask for and give forgiveness, comfort the sad and unsuccessful, and/or praise successes and share happiness.

Source: Xinhua

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