Pork Festival changes name to Imlek Culinary Festival following protests

JAKARTA - A culinary event named the Pork Festival, to be held at the Sri Ratu Supermarket in Semarang on Jan. 23 to 29, has undergone a name change to the Imlek Culinary Festival following protests from Islamic groups.

Chinese New Year, locally known as Imlek, falls on Jan. 28.

The Islamic groups met with the festival's committee at the Semarang Police to discuss the event.

"The Pork Festival bothers us Muslims in Semarang. That's why we want the committee to cancel the festival and focus on the Imlek celebration. The event will still have pork stalls but they have to be closed off from the public eye," Danang Ansoru, spokesperson of the Semarang Islam Congregation Forum (FUIS) said Friday evening.

Danang said they had asked the committee to stand guard at the stalls to prevent Muslims from entering, but the request had been denied.

The committee head of the festival, Firdaus Adinegoro, confirmed the name change. "The event is still on, we just changed the name," he said.

A Fuis statement issued on Jan. 20 in relation to the event was signed by several organisations, including Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia, Muhammadiyah Youth, Indonesian Muslim Students Action (Kammi), Indonesian Muslim Lecturers and Muhammadiyah.

Fuis demanded the police not issue permits for events that may spark public "concern".

Semarang Police chief Sr. Comr. Abiyoso Seno Aji said the pork festival was legal and did not violate the law. He said he would be firm against people who attempted to disrupt the event. - The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network